Coping with Disasters

Supporting Our Community

Volunteerism can minimize personal and community losses through planning and training and help reduce some of the pre-disaster anxiety. Volunteers are utilized to help before, during and after a disaster strikes in Santa Rosa County. Local volunteers expand our capacity to quickly respond to residents' needs and play an important role in our efforts to be a more resilient and self-sufficient community. There is a wide variety of volunteer opportunities for coordinating resources and field work including:

  • American Red Cross
  • Citizen Corps programs
  • Faith-based programs
  • Salvation Army
  • Santa Rosa Support Alliance for Emergency Readiness
  • United Way of Santa Rosa County
  • Volunteer reception centers


SAFER Santa Rosa County is a humanitarian association of independent organizations who may be active in all phases of disaster. Its mission is to foster efficient, streamlined service delivery to people affected by disasters, while eliminating unnecessary duplication of effort through cooperation in the four phases of a disaster.

Managing Anxiety

Coping with the uncertainty and stress of disasters can lead to anxiety. It is normal to be worried during a disaster and people can experience changes in their physical, emotional or mental state during and after emergencies. Here are some tips to help ease the anxiety (Please note that if these reactions seem extreme or last for a long time, the person suffering from the condition should seek help):

  • Avoid drugs and excessive drinking.
  • Exercise, eat well and get enough sleep.
  • Get accurate, timely information from reliable sources.
  • If you can, help others.
  • Keep a sense of humor.
  • Learn more about the specific hazard.
  • Limit your exposure to graphic news stories.
  • Maintain your normal routine, if possible.
  • Share your concerns with others.
  • Stay active physically and mentally.
  • Stay in touch with family and friends.

Keep Things in Perspective

When an emergency happens, it is important to keep things in perspective. Get reliable information about the event from:

  • Newspaper, radio, television
  • Your health care provider or local health department
  • Your Santa Rosa County government and emergency management division


Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies or professional counselors for counseling. Additionally, FEMA and state and local governments of the affected area may provide crisis counseling assistance.

Other Volunteering Opportunities

There are many other volunteer programs and organizations in the county. Becoming a volunteer firefighter is another option for contributing your time and energy back into the community we love. There are nine volunteer fire departments across the county. For more information call Tom Lloyd at 850-983-4608 or visit the station nearest you.