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DHS News July 2013     

OBH Helps Victims of Flooding 

Crisis outreach workers from the Office of Behavioral Health went door to door in Bridgeville, Oakdale and Whitehall to assist county residents after heavy rain flooded the two communities in early July. Several South Hills communities suffered widespread and severe damage from the flooding, including damage to homes.

Lucille Underwood, Assistant Disaster Coordinator for OBH, said responders helped victims of the flooding understand that they were having “a normal reaction to a very abnormal situation” as well as linked them to information and services.

The outreach workers distributed brochures about such things as mold remediation; stress management, and helping children understand the nature of the disaster. The OBH team goes into communities after checking with the towns’ emergency personnel. “The boroughs welcomed us with open arms,” Lucille said.

The response team also included personnel from UPMC Mercy, Western Pennsylvania Institute and Clinic (WPIC), Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, Milestone Centers Inc. and Staunton Clinic. Staff from DHS’ Area Agency on Aging provider LifeSpan Inc. also assisted.  Getting assistance to older adults can be particularly important because they may not have the resources to clean up, Lucille said.

When necessary, flooding victims are sent to members of Voluntary Organizations Active in the Disaster (VOAD), which includes the Red Cross and Salvation Army, for further assistance.

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