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Hurricane Dorian’s on the way. Florence taught us how to be resilient!

As we prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian's effects later this week, certainly there are feelings of anxiety and confusion.  Already?  We haven't even finished recovering from Hurricane Florence!

Let's choose to remember all the things we have learned from one another about being resilient in the face of stress over the course of the past year.  We have learned about the body's response to stress and trauma, and that adding "stressors" and triggers to these can cause us to feel even more out of control.  The more we can plan, anticipate, and know about our "triggers" and those of others, the better prepared we are for what is to come.  

We have learned many ways to handle those times when we feel "bumped out" of our Resilience Zone.  Taking deep breaths, grounding ourselves with feet on the floor or pressing against a wall, walking, or tasting something cold on our lips.  Remembering our resources - what positive memories can we focus on?  Does it have to do with our loved ones or places where we've been that made us feel happy and connected to our strengths?

And finally, let's focus on those times when we felt safe.  Try to take our minds off the hard things about Hurricane Florence and instead let's spend time thinking about when we knew we were going to be okay.  Was it when the rescuers arrived?  Was it when we got our first hot meal or hot shower after the storm?  Was it reuniting with your family or co-workers?  What was that moment, and think about how wonderful that was!

We are strong, we are resilient, and we are going to be okay.   

Stay well, everyone. We will get back to our important work soon enough,
but for now, take care of yourselves!!

For resources to help you prepare and plan, feel free to visit the following sites for help.  Feel free to share.

Ready NHC

Free i-chill app from the Trauma Resource Institute
RCRC Toolbox:
Preparedness Wizard:
Preparedness Wizard (Spanish):
Top 10 Things to Know: (also available in Spanish)
Common Stress Reaction of Children After a Disaster: in Spanish)

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Thank you and an invitation to other communities affected by Dorian.

Thank you Mebane, for this inspiring, instructive post and for allowing me to share it with other communities in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

As the Southeast Region community facilitator for ACEs Connection, I am praying for all in the path of this powerful hurricane, and all those who've already experienced its devastating impact. I have seen communities come together, as New Hanover County has, to recover from a horrific storm. I did not live in the area before the Florence, but since moving to North Carolina in December, 2018, I have witnessed people throughout the state coming together to support each other, look out for each other, learn how to be better prepared for daily stresses and epic traumas.

In New Hanover, where some 600 people have been trained in the Community Resiliency Model, and 1800 more county employees will either receive an overview or the training of the model this year, I know there is a commitment to come together as a community, build on strengths, treasure relationships, look out for one another, implement trauma-informed practices wherever possible, be kind, and, at all costs, avoid traumatizing already traumatized people. 

Your own county likely has resources similar to those of New Hanover. If not, let's work together to create or strengthen a local ACEs task force and help make such supports available. I am ready and willing to help and can be reached at or 404-408-9566. 

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