Deployment No-Nos: What to NOT Do During Your Next Deployment or Activation

1. Skipping Meals or Eating Poorly

2. Skipping Sleep

3. Not Staying Hydrated

4. Putting Everything On Hold

  • *IF* possible, try to still finish essential tasks before the activation or during the small amounts of free time you may have around the activation tasks or operational period assignments. Focusing on some of these tasks can refresh your mind and give you a break from the incident. It also helps you feel good about yourself as you are still completing personal tasks that need to get done! Most importantly, you are also taking care of YOU.
  • If you are absolutely swamped and cannot put any effort or energy into any these tasks, try to reach out to friends, family, or supporters to delegate these tasks until you are ready to take them on. Your loved ones will be more than happy to step up and help when they know how hard you are working to help other people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
  • If you are super swamped and these tasks are not the kind to be able to be delegated (rescheduling appointments, personal errands, needs), try making a list and adding to it as you think of items that need to be worked on after the activation or deployment. This allows your brain to have a place to put it down, and it can also put you at ease about any fears of forgetting to do something important.

5. Processing Emotions

  • Talk to family, friends, or trusted colleagues about how you feel and your emotions when you feel ready to. If you feel like you need to chat after your shift and before the next one, reach out! Your support network loves you and wants to support you through your stressful experiences.
  • Journaling is a great way to express yourself and your feelings. This can work during your activation or on your off-time. You may also want to journal if you will not have time to chat with anyone immediately, but want to record your initial thoughts or feelings and how they progress through the incident.
  • Reach out to an expert if you need to! Mental health is so important, and ignoring it and not dealing with trauma can lead to larger issues down the road. Check out local CISM or coping resources brought in for personnel if offered at the incident. Look up some of the disaster distress hotlines. You can also use work resources (such as Employees Assistance Program — EAP) and speak to a counselor or therapist after the incident. Mental health experts can ask the right questions and help you complete thought exercises to allow you to process and understand your emotions related to the deployment.

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Ashley Morris

Ashley Morris

CEM | MD Emergency Management | Preparedness & Alerts & Plans | IMT | Social Media | VOST | SVI | Weather Forecasting | Geoscientist | GIS | ♥️🚒 #EMGTwitter