Release: Early Preparation for Gustav Can Relieve Anxiety People May Face 08.30.2008

This Press Release Available in Spanish

Early Preparation for Gustav Can Relieve Anxiety People May Face

American Red Cross provides tips for dealing with stress of oncoming storm.

Washington, DC, August 30, 2008 – As uncertainty swirls around Hurricane Gustav and where its path will lead, the American Red Cross encourages those in the potentially affected areas to make preparations now instead of waiting to see where the storm will hit.

Even if a hurricane doesn’t make landfall where you live, it is normal for approaching storms to stir up difficult feelings and thoughts, especially for residents in the Gulf Coast Region who may still feel vulnerable after being devastated by storms like hurricanes Rita and Katrina in recent years.

“Being prepared in advance can greatly reduce stress and anxiety as well as protect lives and property,” said Joe Becker, Senior Vice President of Disaster Services.

People find the most comfort in tasks related to preparedness. In order to prepare, Gulf Coast residents are encouraged to:

  • Stay informed by listening to their local news stations.
  • Prepare an evacuation plan of where you and your family will go if you evacuate. Know how to access the Red Cross Safe and Well website.
  • Assemble a disaster supplies kit, including food, water, essential medication and a flashlight.

For more specific information, please visit the “Preparing for a Hurricane” section on www.redcross.org.

While preparing yourself and your family for a pending hurricane can help to relieve stress, there are several others ways to help cope with stress such as:

  • Ask friends, family and loved ones if they need help with getting prepared.
  • Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. This means eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water. Taking care of loved ones is a good way to relieve your own stress.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help.

You can provide your family peace of mind by registering yourself on the Safe and Well website before you leave the affected area. This website can be accessed at http://www.redcross.org. If there’s no internet access, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to register yourself and your family. If family members know your telephone number or complete home address, they can search the site for messages posted by those who register.

Red Cross mental professionals from across the country have already deployed to the region to provide emotional support, psycho-educational information, crisis intervention and referral services to community members before, during and after the storm. In addition, all Red Cross volunteers are specially trained to provide psychological first aid.

“In times like this, the Red Cross is not only there to provide food, water and shelter; we are also a shoulder to lean on during difficult times,” Becker said.

Residents who need immediate emotional support may call the National Life Line at 1-800-273-8255.

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