First responder safety card

Self-care tips and psychological first aid for disaster workers and volunteers.

Psychological first aid

Remember - there is no right or wrong way to feel and react to a disaster.

First responder safety card - do's and dont's
Do's Don't's
Promote SAFETY

Help people meet basic needs such as food and medical assistance.

Don’t force people to share their stories.
Promote CALM

Provide accurate information about the situation and listen to those who want to share their feelings and stories.

Don’t say everything will be OK.

Don’t tell people what and how they should feel.


Help people to contact their loved ones and keep families together.

Don’t tell people how they should have acted earlier.
Promote HOPE

Acknowledge the difficulty of the situation and remind people that the responders are doing all they can to help.

Don’t make promises that cannot be kept

Give practical suggestion on what people can do.

Don’t criticise services in front of those who are in need of them.

Self-care tips for disaster workers and volunteers

Taking care of your body – Get enough sleep and rest. Eat healthily. Exercise as much you can – rhythmic activities like walking, running, and swimming. Avoid drugs and excessive drinking and smoking.

Taking care of your mental health – Learn about normal and abnormal reactions to disasters. Don’t ignore your own emotions. Know when to seek help. Do things you find relaxing.

Taking care of your spiritual self – Make time to reflect. Meditate. If you find it helpful, pray. Find spiritual connection or community.

Increasing your resiliency – Do something that will help you to regain a sense of control. Focus on your strengths and positive coping skills.

Reaching out – If you feel overwhelmed reach out. Do not be afraid to accept help.

Remaining active – Go back to your normal activities as soon as it feels comfortable to do so.

Managing your workload – Maintain a healthy balance between your work and rest. Take breaks and time off. Prioritise your tasks.

Reducing your stress – Do things you find comforting: exercise, read, listen to music. Be with people whose company you enjoy. Practice stress reducing exercises.

Adapted from New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Mental Health Disaster Preparedness and Response.

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