Resiliency

By definition, resiliency means an object is capable of regaining its original shape or position after bending, stretching, compression, or other deformation. Rubber bands are a good example of a resilient object; raw eggs are not. However, event highly resilient objects have their limits. Stretch a rubber band too far and it will never regain its shape.It is the same in humans, if we witness, or are involved in a traumatic event, we can snap back just like the rubber band--unless we are stretched too far.

 

The NRC was founded to help Incident Commanders limit the trauma of crisis events; to enhance the ability of trauma victims to recover from their personal crisis. By following NRC's protocols, Incident Commanders can limit the impact inflicted on first responders; and, public officials can limit the impact inflicted on communities; and, first responders can limit the impact inflicted on victims and their families.

 

Humans as a species, are incredibly resilient. We routinely suffer fire, flood, famine and timely death and bounce back to normal, or nearly so, very quicky. It is almost as if some of us have a gene that allows us to overcome natural disasters and to heal. Where we as a species, often fail is overcoming senseless events. What possible sequence of events ends with a gunman in a theater? or a bomber in the middle of a marathon? These aren't Acts of God, they are acts of sick, selfish people. For some reason, known only to The Powers That Be, few humans are able to survive the trauma of these events while remaining emotionally unscarred. 

 

As much as we wish it were not true, traumatic events affect our community more than most people realize. In fact, during the period of time following any of these high profile mass tragedies, individuals in the affected communities experience:

 

  • Increased death by suicide and accidents

  • Increased family dysfunction

  • Domestic violence

  • Divorce

  • Higher rates of substance abuse and depression

  • Decreased staff retention in service providers 

 

These consequences are expensive, not only in terms of money, but in terms of reduced human productivity, lost dreams and loss of innocence. Entire Communities also suffer from the effect of these events, experiencing:

 

  • Honeymoon (quickly eroding community cohesion)

  • Fear

  • Anger

  • Sorrow

  • Guilt

  • Conflict

  • Disillusionment

  • Community Integration/Reconstruction 

 

The list of post-incident human suffering goes on and on; in some cases they last a lifetime. Some individuals are better equipped emotionally, to recover from one of these events; but no one is ever the same again. The scariest determination by experts is that, "The intensity of trauma reactions usually decrease over time, but the effects of a trauma cannot be cured." 

 

The NRC is dedicated to reducing the number of individuals who will need recovery assistance by limiting the number of individuals affected by an incident. We started by compiling a list of best practices from both private and government sources and by including our own experiences as indident leaders and team members.

 

One of NRC's goals is to limit the number of persons requiring resiliency assistance by implementing protocols and best practices targeted to the hours and days following an incident. 

© 2013 by The National Resiliency Center, All rights reserved.