George Doherty in his writing addresses the issue of managing stress, trauma and repercussions and dealing with children, adults, the elderly and dealing with those who have special needs in case of a disaster. In chapter three and chapter four, the author specifically deals with the challenges dealing with children and elderly who are considered to be people with special ability. He argues that they are the group which is at very high risk of developing complications when a disaster strikes because in such situations everyone who is able will try rescue their lives forgetting the elderly and children who requires some special help.
Doherty in these chapters acknowledges that human service providers experiences so many obstacles while trying to help the children and elderly persons in the community. The first thing is lack of demographic information on the specific number of such people in a given area and their specific locations. When a disaster like fire occurs for example, the disaster management team tries to rush to safe as many people as they can get in that building unknowing the exact occupants of the building the number of children and elderly persons living there. It also becomes a challenge in prioritizing and reaching a decision on who should be attended to first. When something like an accident occurs, one will realize that the rescuers begins with their kinsmen first if there are any before proceeding to other people and the society has been modified in a way that people value the lives of adults more than the children and elderly who are normally neglected. Since the workers were brought up in the same society, they also suffer from such prejudices.
The ratio of the number of human service providers to the households is still very low. The few staff compared with the wide demand of the services posses a great challenge to the sector. Most states, organizations and eve communities still undergoes shortage of such providers because there are no sufficient resources to cater for all of them and even those who volunteer are very few. Another thing to consider is that some disasters are unexpected and so it is not easy to have an early preparation in terms of providing prior control measures and therefore some disasters are unavoidable while others are beyond the control of any person.
Sometimes the challenges come from the people themselves and the community in general. The trust of the parents on human service providers to successfully take care of their children and keep them way from any kind of disaster. On the other hand some elders are so adamant and would not agree to he helped by anybody, they always underestimate disasters claiming that they have gone through more than what they are being shown as a disaster to them. They are therefore overconfident with themselves and behave as if they do not need and help. Other governments also lack policies om disaster preparedness and response and so there are no health covers for such staff regardless with the fact that their lives are usually exposed to so many risks.
As the author of this book puts clearly it is important to appreciate that children and the elderly always deserves the first priority when it comes to issues of disaster preparedness and response to situations. They do not have the energy to escape the situations he describes them as the vulnerable group that needs the urgent support of everyone not only the disaster preparedness team. He emphasizes on creation and promotion of social responsibility of ensuring the burden is not only on the human service providers but every person takes it as a personal responsibility. There is no way the few human service staff can attend to all the children and the elderly people in the society and so it is upon all people to take that responsibility. When anything risky occurs, they should be the first people to be evacuated even before thinking of personal property. He therefore urges everybody to take the challenge of ensuring that human life is regardless of whether one is young or old is very important before anything else.
Doherty further illustrates that the government, local authorities also has a major role to play in ensuring that the lives of children and elderly persons are protected in times of disasters and epidemics. How the government has prepared itself in terms of policy in case of any eventuality or occurrence of disasters also determines how citizens will prepare themselves. Children are a great investment for tomorrow whereas the elderly has brought the nation to where it is right now and so putting proper policies that ensure they live in safe environment is seen as a wise thing to do. The prosperity of any governance is not only determined by how much it has done in terms of development but how quick it responds to the needs of weak. The author concludes these by making the readers understand that regardless of the challenges, considering some critical areas will make work of human service providers more easier and thereby better the lives of children and the elderly.
George Doherty(2006).Crisis interventions training for disaster workers. Columbia:University of South Calorina Press