After the event occurs you will likely be the only help that is in the immediate area. Offering aid until rescuers can come could make a life-saving difference. Here are some things to be aware of when seeking to be helpful after emergency strikes.
1. Planning ahead. Preparing in advance for a natural disaster may feel like you are basing plans off a giant “what if?” But instituting a plan of action for your family and community before a natural disaster strikes can make all the difference in the long-run. Being organized and having a strategy with your neighbors, incase tragedy strikes, will save everyone from confusion and wasting critical time.
2. Prioritize yourself first. This sounds selfish, given that you would like to help your community if disaster strikes, but you need to make sure that you are alright and able, before you try helping others. If you are injured and try to help regardless, not only will you be putting yourself in more danger but you could jeopardize someone's life even more. Evaluate yourself and your family's well-being before moving on to help others.
3. Establish a line of communication. Before you go blazing into the wreckage, try contacting emergency responders to notify them of the situation and figure out their estimated time of arrival. They will be able to thoroughly advise on what is in your ability to do and possible dangers of attempting rescue. For instance with disasters such as tornados, floods, and earthquakes, power lines might be knocked down. If you aren't cautious you could be electrocuted by an active line.
4. Stay organized. Dealing with the aftermath of a disaster can prove even more stressful than the disaster itself. Staying organized with your neighbors can relieve a lot of the stress and confusion. Be sure that you keep track of peoples' locations and designate a meeting spot to rendezvous once the search and rescue arrive.
Ultimately, the most important thing to keep in mind after a disaster is to remain calm. You will have undergone a traumatic experience, so try not to overextend yourself. The recovery process is long and arduous so do not attempt to conquer it in one day.