‘We Will Never Ever Forget...’: The Swissair Flight 111 Disaster and its Impact on Volunteers and Communities
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In collaboration with a Community Advisory Group we examined the impact of the 1998 Swissair Flight 111 disaster on volunteer responders and surrounding communities. We conducted qualitative interviews and administered a set of structured questionnaires to 13 volunteer disaster workers and conducted a focus group with community leaders. Community silence and limited help-seeking behaviour were typical reactions to the SA 111 disaster. The nature and duration of the disaster response efforts contributed to a probable 46 per cent PTSD rate in the community volunteers. Community-based, culturally appropriate followup, as well as the development of volunteer protocols for future disaster response efforts, are necessary to minimize long-term health impacts and to promote resilience among community residents and volunteers exposed to a major disaster.
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