Monday, October 17, 2011

Trauma: Crisis Counseling for Texas Wildfire Survivors

Free Crisis Counseling Can Help Texas Wildfire Survivors Cope 

Release Date: October 17, 2011
Release Number: 4029-051

» More Information on Texas Wildfires

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texans who survived the recent wildfires -- or saw neighbors or family experience loss -- can be experiencing post-disaster stress that is as real as the destruction itself.

Because of this, free crisis counseling is available to Texans in the 23 counties designated for Individual Assistance under the major disaster declaration. The program, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and administered by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), is open to any child or adult who is experiencing disaster-related stress.

“FEMA funds this program after major disasters because counseling can help people understand that their emotional reactions to the disaster, such as grief, frustration, anger and fear, are normal,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes of FEMA. “We know that the right support and coping skills can help most survivors pick up the pieces and go on with their lives.”

Trained counselors are provided by the network of state Community Mental Health Centers. Calls to the crisis lines are free of charge, as are face-to-face follow-up sessions for adults and children whose needs cannot be fully served through phone counseling.

   Central Texas
  • Bastrop, Caldwell, Fayette and Williamson Counties: Bluebonnet Trails Community Services, crisis line 800 -841-1255
  • Colorado County, Texana Center, crisis line 800-633-5686
  • Hill County, Heart of Texas Region Mental Health Mental Retardation (MHMR) Center, crisis line 866-572-3451
  • Travis County,  Austin Travis County Integral Care, crisis line 512-472-4357
Southeast Texas
  • Grimes and Leon Counties, MHMR Authority of Brazos Valley, crisis line 888-522-8262
  • Houston County, Burke Center, crisis line 800-392-8343
  • Montgomery and Walker Counties, Tri-County Services, crisis line 800-659-6994
Northeast Texas
  • Anderson County, ACCESS Anderson Cherokee Community Enrichment Services, crisis line 800-621-1693
  • Cass, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Rusk  and Upshur Counties, Community Healthcore, crisis line 800-832-1009
  • Henderson and Smith Counties,  Andrews Center Behavioral Healthcare System, crisis line 877-934-2131
  • Navarro County, Lakes Regional MHMR Center, crisis line 877-466-0660
  • Waller County, Texana Center, crisis line 800-633-5686
Residents of other Texas counties may call 2-1-1, the central point of contact for health and human services throughout the state.

The State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Bastrop is staffed with crisis counselors, and appointments are not necessary. Registered survivors from any of the designated counties can drop by the Bastrop center to speak with a counselor.

The Bastrop recovery center is at the Bastrop High School 9th Grade Academy, 1602 Hill Street, Bastrop, Texas 78602. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Another resource is the TDSHS website addressing post-disaster mental health. It lists frequent reactions to catastrophic events and methods of coping specifically for families, children and older adults.

Texans can register online at, via web-enabled phone at, or by telephone via FEMA’s toll-free numbers: 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. Operators are available from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

Follow FEMA tweets about the Texas disaster at Other online resources are, and

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Modified: Monday, 17-Oct-2011 14:41:59

Trauma: Kids can help in preparing for disasters.

Kids Can Overcome Fears as They Help Prepare for a Future Disaster 

Release Date: October 15, 2011
Release Number: 4025-070
» More Information on Pennsylvania Tropical Storm Lee
» More Information on Pennsylvania Hurricane Irene
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- When kids go through a storm or tornado or other kind of disaster they may feel helpless, experts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) say. Even if they do not experience it themselves, seeing or hearing about what happened to a friend or classmate can be unsettling. Helping plan for their own family in case of a disaster can help kids overcome their fears.
Let children help put together a family disaster kit. Have them list what you will need to put in your kit in order to be prepared. Take them with you to shop for items you do not have in the house.
Here are the basic emergency supplies for a basic family disaster kit:
  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Three-day supply of water - one gallon of water per person, per day.
  • Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit and manual.
  • Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
  • Matches and waterproof container.
  • Whistle.
  • Extra clothing.
  • Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener.
  • Photocopies of credit and identification cards.
  • Cash and coins.
  • Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
  • Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
  • Other items to meet your unique family needs (pet supplies, for example).
If you live in a cold climate, think about how you will keep warm if you lose power. You will need warm clothing and bedding supplies. Be sure to include one complete change of clothing and shoes per person, including:
  • Jacket or coat.
  • Long pants and long sleeve shirt.
  • Sturdy shoes.
  • Hat, mittens, and scarf.
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket (per person).
For more information and for activities for children in preparing and coping with a disaster go online at
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.