Lessons Learned Guide Disaster Preparedness

As the 2017 Dewey County wildfires threatened the town of Seiling, Oklahoma, the Seiling Nursing Center was forced to evacuate all residents to a nearby community. Amazingly, within an hour, all of the residents were evacuated using church vans, a few available first responder vehicles, and other vehicles. For three days, residents and staff moved into to an available wing of a nursing home in Fairview, Oklahoma—with double occupancy in the rooms. Once they returned, a second evacuation was threatened because the fires burned for so many days. As a result of this experience, the Seiling Nursing Center created “go bags” for each of their residents—backpacks that include a change of clothes, a list of all medications and other key personal items.

Recently, the entire staff of Seiling Nursing Center gathered for two afternoons of Psychological First Aid training, provided by Project Resilient Spirit’s Mary Gaudreau Hughes. The training reinforced the practical steps the staff had taken during the evacuation, based upon their sheer ingenuity, and added additional skills to their tools for responding to a crisis.

SRT, Inc. received a grant from the Midwest Early Recovery Fund to support Project Resilient Spirit and outreach and education efforts related to the wildfires in Oklahoma.

(Photo source: Mary Gaudreau Hughes, SRT, Inc.)