Volunteers Called Upon to Help Ease Stress among Californians


After the wildfire in California was contained, the mandatory evacuation order was lifted. Californians’ only choice is to go back and see what was left of their homes. Some have lost their closest family and friend in the deadly fire that lasted a week. Others will not stop to recount how they survived from the jaws of death. While fleeing her home in Sonoma, Sue Wortman kept thinking to herself that everyone was going up in smoke. Like many other people who evacuated from their premises, Ms. Wortman was staying outside Petaluma in tents. She had found temporary solace in friends but knew all too well that the feeling would not last long. She believes that the losses will sink in when each person heads back home. There is a genuine concern from trauma experts regarding the emotional toll that the fire has taken on the Californians.

The California Psychological Association knows the state of mind of the Californians all too well. It has thus called upon volunteers to help the evacuees deal with the trauma they are faced with and ultimately be able to live with the aftermath. Many people lost their homes and properties they have had all their lives. The association’s disaster resource coordinator encouraged psychologists in California to join hands and help since the fire has caused an acute and long-term impact on the lives of many. The blaze is the most destructive to be reported in California. 42 persons passed on as a result of the fire, while more than 6,000 homes were destroyed. Among those who perished is a 38-year-old firefighter know as Garrett Paiz and is a resident of Missouri. He died after a water truck he was driving rolled in a wildfire in Napa Valley Community.

Out of the over 100,000 people evacuated, 34,000 are not permitted to head back home. Many people are however yet to discover the state of their homes. It is not unusual for survivors to feel sad, angry or even suffer nightmares especially while surrounded by strangers. The stress may also cause a headache or stomachache. All the evacuees are encouraged to stay exposed to news which will help them deal with anxiety. The importance of recounting the events is emphasized. Parents are asked to support their children to talk out. A former grief therapist says that it is of essence to listen to the evacuees.