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Expert answer:Psychosocial Impacts of Disaster Discussion Board - Ray writers

Solved by verified expert:It’s a response to this assignment: need to provide a substantive response to my co-students and support my idea. In the attachments, you will find 3 classmates that I want a separate file for each one.Reference to appropriate authoritative resources and official websites. Must be accessible online. Use New Times Roman 12 font with 1” margins and APA style.Each response should be at least 150 words.The questions were:inish The Unthinkable (attached). In this book, journalist Amanda Ripley explores how we react in a disaster and why. She also discusses how we can better prepare ourselves for survival when faced with the unexpected.1.Reflect on this book and how it impacted you. What was surprising? What was confirming?2.Did anything you read influence you in the present or in terms of what you will do (or not do) in the future?3.What did you learn about how people react in a disaster event? Did anything surprise or fascinate you?4.If you could share one thing with a loved one or peer, what would it be?5.Feel free to share anything further that was impactful for you.


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Amanda Ripley’s book, The Unthinkable, was a page-turner. The balance of anecdote
and scientific study was very engaging. I have already shared several things I have read
in this book with a few people. Notably, I was struck by information about Special
Forces Soldiers in the chapter on Resilience. For some reason, I find the Special Forces
extremely fascinating. For anyone else who feels this way I highly recommend Men
Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson.
Anyway, the fact that Ripley discovered that she could predict who would make it into
the Special Forces by performing a questionnaire or taking a blood test was really
interesting. Ultimately what she discovered was that Special Forces soldiers produced
more “neuropeptide Y” (a compound that helps you stay focused under stress). She
also found that those who made it through Special Forces training had very little
experience dissociating. They remained present and focused. Special Forces Soldiers
are more suited to handle fear and stress, chemically and innately. What was even
more interesting is that she found that Special Forces soldiers often had more trauma in
their past, yet they were more capable of managing stressful situations.
Something that stood out to me was that people think drills are a waste of time.
Specifically, the Morgan Stanley employees in the towers who would huff and puff about
Rescorla’s fire drills. This resonated because we see this everywhere. No one takes
drills seriously or thinks they need to actually practice. But it can be seen over and over
that the mind can fail us in times of crisis, and it is best to not have to think, but just do.
A great example of this is the population of Langi, Simeulue. All 800 residents survived
the 2004 Tsunami because they have been taught since they were children that as soon
as you feel shaking run for higher ground. It is tradition there but it is also an automatic
response. Somewhere in that section, it said that they never considered a false
evacuation a waste of time. That’s amazing!
Training/practice is so important. It makes a difference in the way we behave in
emergencies. Practicing drills won’t qualify you for the Special Forces, but it could save
your own life. James Lee Witt echoed this when he said “..people will respond to meet
a need in a crisis if they know what to do”. When I was in Nepal during the 2015
earthquake, I had a terrible reaction. I literally forgot all of my grade school earthquake
drills and went running for the stairs. After I was lunged down the stairs and into the
wall, I snapped out of it and realized I had to go back up and get under a table. When I
made it underneath the table I held on to my best friend and took deep breaths and
remember repeating in my head “please stop please stop”. From the time the rumbling
and then the violent shaking started, to falling down the stairs, running back up, and
diving under the table and hoping it would stop, it had been a total of fewer than two
minutes but it truly felt so much longer. What was really interesting though was I went
through over 14 aftershocks above magnitude 5.0 over the next few days and while I
was not inside a building for any of these, I did become pretty immune to the what
seemed like never-ending swaying of the earth beneath me.
“Fear of liability slows response. It can cost lives”. This quote spoke to me because
currently, I am proposing a Capstone project idea to a local non-profit. They are almost
finished with the construction of an extremely progressive facility that will provide
housing, counseling, employment support, and primary care to Portland’s homeless and
addicted all under the same roof. They have two full-time non-emergency management
employees working on the emergency plans, and I am hoping to join the team as part of
my project. This team and project could really use the support, but a major concern that
is coming up is liability.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. It made me want to get my blood tested and my
brain scanned. And although I do have a pretty stocked emergency kit for myself, my
partner, and our dog, and I frequently discuss preparedness with my family (and most of
my holiday gifts tend to be emergency kit items haha), I have never actually practiced
using our fire ladder or evacuating our building.
manda Ripley’s book The Unthinkable was a great book and I am not a big reader. I
found the stories very interesting in that she took people’s reactions to disasters and was able to
link it to scientific evidence. Logically, as someone who has studied science, it makes sense to
me that different areas of the brain are activated as an individual is placed in different scenarios.
However, the correlation between certain types of responses, both psychological and emotional,
and how the body/brain reacts is very fascinating.
When I read the story about Zedeño and her response to the bombing at the World Trade
Center in 1993 and again in the attacks in 2001 it was interesting to me that she in a sense froze.
Her actions were opposite of how I think a person would react in such a situation; to me I would
get out of there as fast as I could. I wonder though, is that because I am thinking and speaking
about it after the fact, as someone who has never experienced something like that or because that
is how I would actually respond. Part of me believes it is because I am looking at the situation in
hind-sight because I can recall a situation as I am writing this where I responded in a similar
way. In August 2011, I started a new job at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington,
DC, just finished orientation the day before and was now finally in my department learning the
ropes. I went to eat lunch in the atrium on the first floor which is open all the way up to the
4th floor or so. As I was sitting there, I felt the ground shake and I saw people running into
rooms. I had seen workers moving large pieces of equipment behind me earlier and since it felt
somewhat similar to that, I continued to eat my lunch. Eventually a security officer walked
through telling everyone to evacuate the building. I had no idea what was going on, so I walked
back to my department to see if I could find some fellow co-workers but no one was around. I
remembered that earlier that day we discussed how in the event of an evacuation, we meet
outside the emergency room entrance, so that is where I went. Come to find out, the ground
shaking was not the equipment but rather a 5.8 earthquake that struck somewhere down in
Virginia about 90 miles southwest of DC. In that moment, I could see how Zedeño was slow to
react as you do not necessarily think worst-case scenario, especially if you cannot visually
perceive a threat.
In her book Ripley quotes Mileti saying: “But individuals underperceive risk. The public
totally discounts low-probability, high-consequence events. The individual says, it’s not going to
be this plane, this bus, this time.” Many people have the mindset that “it cannot possibly happen
to me”. We as a society sometimes think that we are invincible to consequences until they
happen to us. As Ripley states, “The human brain worries about many, many things before it
worries about probability”. We worry about these things because they are out of our control and
many people need to feel that they have control in order to feel safe. I can say that for me, I get
very anxious in situations I do not have control over even if I have past experience of everything
working out just fine. It is hard to let go of control and logically think about the probability of
disaster striking. Preparation is everything when it comes to disasters and Ripley describes how
even mentally walking through your own disaster plan can help save your life.
I know not everyone is properly prepared for a disaster, myself included even though I
hate to admit it. In today’s world we can never be too prepared and I would want my family to
make sure they have a plan. Know that while you may not think it can happen to you, it
definitely can without any warning.
Ripley, A. (2009). The unthinkable: Who survives when disaster strikes – and why.
London: Arrow.
I was surprised initially by the milling or deliberation phase of the personal disaster
response. In my head, I would never think that people would stand around and gather
their personal items before evacuating and acting. It was a powerful insight into how the
reptilian brain works with our “stuff” and how fragile our higher-order thought processes
are when confronted with fear and uncertainty. Additionally, the lack of mental and
physical preparation for disasters is astounding, even when faced with evidence of
potential danger. After reading the book I asked around to see if any of my friends and
family had disaster preparations and the overwhelming consensus was “I’ll be okay, that
won’t happen to me”. Obviously, it was not the answer I had hoped for. If I could share
anything with a loved one or peer, it’s that we have to take care of ourselves. If disaster
strikes, there is no guarantee that someone is going to come to the rescue. Even if it’s
just mental rehearsal, it’s better than being completely unprepared. I actually plan on
taking my SO camping soon to teach him how to make shelters, fire, and snares. I also
told my parents that they need to be prepared, especially with all of the inclement
weather happening in their area.
I particularly liked the segment on the amygdala and brain function in veterans. We are
learning about the effects of blast injuries on the brain in Clinical Disaster Medicine, and
how it may contribute to PTSD. The more concrete clinical findings appealed to my
need for evidential, not anecdotal, support. Ripley actually did a really good job in my
opinion of balancing her stories with rationale and evidence behind why we act how we
do. I enjoyed looking at disasters through the more scientifically-skewed lens. One thing
that I wish she elaborated more on was the hero mentality and why people put their
lives on the line to save other people without the training or expectation to do so. She
brought up a couple possibilities on the reproductive benefits, but it wasn’t quite
convincing for me. I’d like to read more on that subject and probably will in the future
when I have some downtime.
I also enjoyed the panic myth discussion. I remember a drill that I participated in at the
airport back in State College where we had to triage victims. They had the victims in fullon panic mode and I almost laughed when I rolled up on scene because of how
ridiculous it looked. I’ve never actually seen anyone panic in my time as an EMT. Most
of them were calm or just a little shaken. Similarly, I found the commentary on crowd
crushing to be interesting. As a petite female, I definitely feel as though I’m going to be
suffocated or trampled in large crowds, and it’s one of the reasons I avoid them. The
government response to those incidents as well struck home. I often think that we rely
too much on “thoughts and prayers” to fix things when action by officials is needed.
Sometimes things are too difficult to confront head-on so we take the approach of
inaction in the wake of disasters. Survival is a funny thing.
In the future, I want to deploy to a disaster site to help. Reading about all of the events
that Ripley talked about made me almost want to be there. I know that wasn’t the goal,
but I know that I’m a doer and I’m willing to go into certain situations that others aren’t. I
think the most powerful thing about her book is the applications it has with enhancing
individual preparedness through confronting that unthinkable event. While we usually
take a top-down approach to disaster preparedness, the book individualizes and
personifies the realities of those situations and encourages the individual to think about
their own preparedness, which might end up saving some lives in the process.

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