The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee on April 11, 2009 · A9
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The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee · A9

Nashville, Tennessee
Issue Date:
Saturday, April 11, 2009
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THE TENNESSEAN RUTHERFORD TORNADOES COPING SATURDAY, APRIL 11, 2009 9A REMAINING SAFE AFTER A TORNADO What to do Here's what to do after a tornado, according to the American Red Cross: Don't tie up phone lines. Use phone lines only for emergency purposes so lines aren't overwhelmed. Stay clear of damage. Avoid damaged areas and stay out of damaged buildings. Listen for instructions. Listen to local radio, television or weather radio reports for instructions. All clear. If your home was damaged, wait until authorities advise it is safe to return. Protect body. When returning home to inspect damage, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes. Downed lines. Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the People fill the streets to view tornado damage in the Indian Creek subdivision in Murfreesboro on Friday. MANDY LUNN THE TENNESSEAN utility company immediately. Gas. If you smell gas, get out Flashlights. Use battery- of the building, turn off the powered lanterns or flashlights, main outside valve if possible not candles, in damaged areas. and call the gas company. How to get help Here's how Rutherford County residents affected by Friday's tornadoes can get assistance with their needs. Damage reports: 615-893-1311 Power outages: Murfreesboro Electric, 615-893-5514; or Middle Tennessee Electric, 877-777-9111 Shelter: New Vision Baptist Church, 1750 N. Thompson Lane, 615-629-0290; or Black-man Middle School, 3945 Blaze Drive Storage: Fortress Storage, 863 Fortress Blvd., 615-863-3678 Showers: Rutherford County Family YMCA, 205 North Thompson Lane, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; or North Rutherford YMCA, 2001 Motlow College Blvd., 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. General help: 2-1-1 ; Hi - w v Aurelius Ross, 5, looks around at the tornado damage Friday in the Indian Creek subdivision in Murfreesboro. Aurelius was with his father, Jay Ross, who was in the neighborhood to support his friend Jason Jones, whose home, seen in the background, was damaged in the tornado, mandy lunn the tennessean Reassure frightened kids These tips can ease stress after a traumatic event Compiled by Karen-Lee Ryan THE TENNESSEAN The devastating tornadoes that swept through Rutherford County may have children feeling frightened, confused and insecure. Whether a child has personally experienced trauma, or has seen and heard about the devastation on TV and through conversation, it's important for parents and teachers to be informed and ready to help ease the stress. Common reactions Birth through 2 years: Even though such young children don't have the words to describe events or their feelings after a trauma, they can retain memories of particular sights, sounds or smells. The biggest influence on children of this age is how their parents cope. Common reactions include being irritable, crying more than usual, and wanting to be held and cuddled. Preschoolers (up to age 6): This age group often feels helpless and powerless after an overwhelming event. Because of their age and small size, these children can't protect themselves or others and may feel intense fear and insecurity about being separated from caregivers. Most preschoolers can't grasp the concept of permanent loss, but they may see consequences as being reversible or temporary. In the weeks after a traumatic event, preschoolers' play activities may re-enact the incident or the disaster over and over again. School age (ages 7-10): These children have the ability to understand the permanence of loss. Some children become intensely preoccupied with the details of the tornado and want to talk about it constantly. This can interfere with the child's concentration at school, and academic performance may decline. At school, children may hear inaccurate information from peers. They may display a wide range of reactions sadness, fears of tornadoes happening again, guilt over action or inaction during the disaster, anger that the event was not prevented or fantasies of playing rescuer. Preteens to teenagers (ages 11-18): Older children have a more sophisticated understanding of the event, and they respond much like adults. Teenagers may become involved in dangerous, risk-taking behaviors, such as reckless driving or alcohol or drug use. Others may become fearful of leaving home and stop participating in their usual activities. Much of adolescence is focused on moving out into the world. After a trauma, the view of the world can seem more dangerous. A teenager may feel overwhelmed by intense emotions and yet feel unable to discuss them with others. How you can help Understand that your children will have a range of reactions to the tornadoes, and that adult behaviors, thoughts and feelings influence their reactions. To help children: Understand what's causing their anxieties and fears, such as the possibility of another tornado, the fear of someone being hurt or killed or that they'll be left alone or separated from the family. Encourage them to share thoughts and feelings by talking, writing or drawing. Clear up any misunderstandings they have about the risks and danger, and calmly provide the facts. Maintain a sense of calm by reassuring them their concerns are valid and discussing concrete plans for safety. Limit exposure to repeated images of the tornadoes on television and the Internet, which may lead children to believe they're recurring over and over. Hug and touch your children. Spend extra time with them, especially at bedtime. Praise responsible behavior. If you've tried to create a reassuring environment but your child continues to be stressed, with feelings that worsen over time or cause interference at school and at home, consider talking with a professional the child's doctor, a child therapist or a member of the clergy. SOURCE: Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster can bring flood of emotions Compiled by Karen-Lee Ryan THE TENNESSEAN The emotional toll that disaster brings can sometimes be even more devastating than the financial strains of damage and loss of home, business or personal property. Everyone who sees or experiences a disaster is affected by it in some way and reactions can be different from person to person. Normal feelings after disaster Anxiety about your own safety and people close to you. Profound sadness, grief and anger. To help with recovery Acknowledge your feelings. Focus on your strengths and abilities. Accept help from community organizations. Contact local faith-based organizations, volunteer agencies or professional counselors for counseling. Disaster-related stress Adults with the following signs might need crisis counseling or stress management assistance: Difficulty communicating thoughts. Difficulty sleeping. Difficulty maintaining balance in their lives. Low threshold of frustration. Increased use of drugsalco-hol. Limited attention span. Poor work performance. Headachesstomach problems. Tunnel visionmuffled hearing. Colds or flu-like symptoms. Disorientation or confusion. Difficulty concentrating. Reluctance to leave home. Depression, sadness. Feelings of hopelessness. Mood swings and easy bouts of crying. Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt. Fear of crowds, strangers or being alone. How to ease stress If you recognize signs of disaster-related stress, here are some methods for easing it: Talk with someone about your feelings, even if it's difficult. Seek help from professional counselors who deal with post-disaster stress. Do not hold yourself responsible for the tornado or feel frustrated because you feel you can't help directly in the rescue work. Take steps to promote your own physical and emotional healing with healthy eating, rest, exercise, relaxation, prayer and meditation. Maintain a normal family and daily routine, but limit demanding responsibilities on yourself and your family. Spend time with family and friends. Participate in memorials. Use existing support groups of family, friends and religious institutions. Make sure you're ready for future events by restocking your disaster supplies kits and updating your family disaster plan. Doing these positive actions can be comforting. SOURCE: Federal Emergency Management Agency WANT TO HELP? Donate to Red Cross The Nashville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross has opened two Murfreesboro shelters and sent 750 meals plus snacks, bottled water, blankets, toiletries and volunteers to assist with the operation. The Red Cross will keep shelters open as long as needed, in addition to providing mobile feeding and mental health support to those affected by the storm, said spokeswoman Beth Ferguson. She said the best way to help through their agency is to donate financially to the Heart of Tennessee chapter in Murfreesboro by calling 615-893-4272 or visiting Spokeswoman Jill Gorin said the agency does not accept clothing or furniture because it does not have a means for storing the items. Donate to victims Pinnacle National Bank, 123 Cason Lane, Murfreesboro, has opened a special account for victims of the storm. Call 615-893-1234 for information. Salvation Army The Salvation Army will be helping the American Red Cross feed victims this morning and also will offer on-site counseling and serve lunch and dinner in the various neighborhoods that have been affected. To help financially, go online at or mail checks to 631 Dickerson Road, Nashville, TN 37207 and put "Murfreesboro disaster" in the memo line. Register your group United Way 2-1-1, Middle Tennessee's referral help line, is extending its hours to assist those wanting to get or give help. Agencies, churches and civic groups offering relief or coordinating volunteer efforts are encouraged to call 2-1-1 to get listed in the database so the agency can get accurate information to callers. If there's trouble getting through, try 269-HELP (4357). Drop off food items Food items may be dropped off at Second Harvest Food Bank boxes located at area Kroger stores. The best items are those that are ready to eat and do not require cooking or refrigeration, such as peanut butter, pop-top cans of fruit and beans, individually wrapped granola bars and small boxes of cereal. r

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