Disaster Recovery Tools for LTRG’s & the Community


The diverse resources featured below were briefly shared by Jay on a NCVOAD Sponsored Disaster Case Management Conference Call on Thursday March 15, 2018.   Per the request of key participants on that call he is sharing this information in order to encourage and empower Long-Term Recovery Groups [LTRG’s] across the state that are recovering from Hurricane Matthew.  Until recently Jay served the community as a paid Disaster Case Manager and Community Resource Coordinator with RCDRC, and he is currently volunteering as time permits in an effort to help that organization transition.  

Meanwhile Jay [a Hurricane Matthew Survivor and Robeson County native ] also continues to serve tirelessly as the founder and Grassroots Community Health Coordinator through his innovate and independent platform known as The Stimulus, and he remains focused on working together with diverse local, state, and federal stakeholders dedicated to education, research, public policy, capacity development, emergency preparedness, outreach, & community engagement.   Click here to learn more about The Stimulus and how you can support this movement! 🙂



2018 National Seasonal Preparedness Messaging Calendar

The 2018 National Seasonal Preparedness Messaging Calendar & key messages provides you with content to promote preparedness all year.  And while FEMA suggests content to promote diverse preparedness topics, communities are encouraged to adapt topics to your local area and use the calendar as a guide!




Active Shooter Resources


Creating a Culture of Preparedness requires both LTRG’s and communities to collectively adopt a “Whole Community Approach” that considers the impact of both natural and man-made disasters simultaneously.  So as our nation’s attention is currently focused on this topic we all have an opportunity to share  relevant resources that can nurture the discovery and integration of constructive solutions.   To learn more about what you can do click here to join FEMA’s Online Community “America’s Prepareathon” to access Active Shooter, Hurricane Preparedness, and other tools and resources that can help parents, students, schools, churches, businesses, organizations,  and the entire community!    

Please note that relevant behavioral health resources from NCPsychiatry.org are also listed below:


The 2018 County Health Rankings


As I shared in this post last year, The annual County Health Rankings released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides data that can help communities to identify key public health factors and outcomes that are also relevant to common long-term disaster recovery unmet needs, vulnerabilities, and opportunities re: DR-4285


For example, using the data and tools on CountyHealthRankings.org can help Long-Term Recovery Groups (LTRG’s) and Disaster Case Managers appreciate how diverse health factors like severe housing problems and unemployment not only affect the public’s health long-term in different ways across the state,  but how these and other interconnected challenges can also negatively impact long-term recovery efforts in our most vulnerable counties if vital policies and programs are cut or eliminated. 



This caliber of perspective is especially critical in serious discussions focused on developing sustainability and community resilience strategies since according to this recently released article by the Washington Post,  a 2019 federal budget proposal submitted by the current administration:  


….zeroes out Community Development Block Grants [or CDBG investments funded through HUD]  which play a key role in disaster recovery”;   “Eliminates the $1.9 billion fund for public housing capital repairs”;   “Reduces Section 8 federal housing subsidies”;   “Shrink[s] funding for Adult Employment and Training Activities, which serve veterans, Native Americans and young people”;  and  “Cut[s] funding for National Dislocated Worker Grants — [through the US Department of Labor that provide] support for those who lose their jobs in natural disasters or factory closures — from $219.5 million in 2017 to $51 million in 2019…”


Now imagine for a moment how vulnerable communities would be in general — and especially following a disaster without:  CDBG Grants;  investments to maintain and repair public housing;   adequate investments to help at risk populations to secure safe and healthy housing accommodations;   vital employment and training opportunities for veterans, Native Americans, and young people;  or funding that helps workers keep food on the table and maintain employment following a disaster or factory closings.


In other words, the road ahead for LTRG’s, disaster recovery workers, care-net providers, health-care providers, social & human services agencies, disaster survivors, and entire communities across the state could be even more challenging in the very near future as  a myriad of available resources in  multiple dimensions may be greatly diminished —  or  in some cases may even evaporate if communities and stakeholders are silent.   Still some may ask how does health fit into conversations about community resilience, disaster recovery,  LTRG’s, and disaster case management?   Well according to the PHE.gov:

Community resilience is the sustained ability of communities to withstand, adapt to, and recover from adversity.   Health—meaning physical, behavioral, social, and environmental health and wellbeing—is a big part of overall resilience.   In many ways, health is a key foundation of resilience because almost everything we do to prepare for disaster and protect infrastructure is ultimately in the interest of preserving human health and welfare.”‘

Communities are increasingly complex, and so are the challenges they face.  Human-caused and natural disasters are more frequent and costly.  Factors like climate change, globalization, and increased urbanization can bring disaster related risks to greater numbers of people.   Addressing these threats calls for an approach that combines what we know about preparing for disasters with what we know about actions that strengthen communities every day.  Community resilience focuses on enhancing the day-to-day health and wellbeing of communities to reduce the negative impacts of disasters.



Compare & Contrast:  Health Outcomes & Factors in Robeson, Scotland, Columbus & Edgecombe County

For example, since the 2018 County Health Rankings reveal that Adult Smoking is challenge in Robeson, Scotland Columbus and Edgecombe County,  organizations and Disaster Case Managers in these counties could work together to spread the word about QuitlineNC since research shows that tobacco use increases after major disasters.  Similarly, these and other counties that are experiencing challenges related to the Poor Mental Health Days,  Unemployment, and Violent Crime could work together with strategic partners to provide Psychological First Aid and SPR.   [Keywords: Asset Mapping,  Cultural Competence]



Compare & Contrast:  Outcomes & Factors in Robeson, Scotland, Columbus & Edgecombe County


Simply put:  understanding the health of our communities helps us to better understand the overall unmet needs of our communities,  our common vulnerabilities,  our unique challenges and strengths,  our trajectory, and the work that we must all do collectively  in order to shift the paradigm.   So let’s dig into our County Health Rankings, check out the Take Action Cycle” and “Action Center“, and continue to work together to integrate an adaptable framework of collaboration that can facilitate genuine community transformation across multiple sectors.  Let’s build a Culture of Health and a Culture of Preparedness together because that’s what community resilience is all about! 



ATSDR – The Social Vulnerability Index (SVI)


Social vulnerability refers to the resilience of communities when confronted by external stresses on human health, stresses such as natural or human-caused disasters, or disease outbreaks.  Reducing social vulnerability can decrease both human suffering and economic loss.  ATSDR’s Social Vulnerability Index uses U.S. census variables at tract level to help local officials identify communities that may need support in preparing for hazards, or recovering from disaster.” 


Scientific American: Natural Disasters by Location- Rich Leave and Poor Get Poorer



  • “Each big catastrophe like a hurricane increases a U.S. county’s poverty by 1 percent,  90 years of data  show.”
  • “We found that, if a county experienced two natural disasters, migration out of that county increased by one percentage point, with the strongest reactions happening in response to hurricanes. This translates into a loss of around 600 residents from a typical county. The effect of one very large disaster – responsible for 100 or more deaths – was twice as big.”
  • “Poverty rates also increased by one percentage point in areas hit by super-severe disasters. That suggests that people who aren’t poor are migrating out or that people who are poor are migrating in. It might also mean that the existing population transitioned into poverty.  We contrasted decades with high disaster activity to decades of comparable calm, thus making it unlikely that we are simply observing areas with higher poverty rates.
  • “People in areas very prone to suffer disasters – such as counties on a coastline or in a river plain – were  three times more likely to leave areas following a severe shock than people in a typical county.”
  • Despite the progress in preparing for natural disasters, our research suggests the poor will face growing  exposure to natural disaster activity.  Our research suggests that the rich may have the resources to move  away from areas facing natural disasters, leaving behind a population that is disproportionately poor.”
  • “During a time of increased concern about income inequality and climate change risk, natural disaster exposure risk could become another cause of rising quality of life inequality between the rich and the poor.”
  • Our study suggests that areas that do not adapt to natural disaster risk will become poorer over time, as well-to-do residents move away.” 



Breaking the Link Between Extreme Weather and Extreme Poverty


Trauma-Informed Approach 

SAMHSA’s six key principles of a trauma-informed approach address trauma’s consequences and facilitate healing.   

SAMHSA highlights that….

“A program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed:

  1. Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery;
  2. Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system;
  3. Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and
  4. Seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.”

A trauma-informed approach can be implemented in any type of service setting or organization and is distinct from trauma-specific interventions or treatments that are designed specifically to address the consequences of trauma and to facilitate healing.

SAMHSA’s Six Key Principles of a Trauma-Informed Approach

  1. Safety
  2. Trustworthiness and Transparency
  3. Peer support
  4. Collaboration and mutuality
  5. Empowerment, voice and choice
  6. Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues


There are many concepts and terms associated with trauma-informed care.  To start with a common framework, there are six key concepts that are particularly important for human services providers interested in expanding their understanding of trauma and its implications for service delivery.


Relevant Link: 

Resource Guide to Trauma-Informed Human Services