Terror Management Theory in Practice
May 1, 2021, 7:40 AM – Fire and law enforcement units respond to the incident scene. They are careful to approach the incident scene as the incident scene is near the nuclear power plant and a plume is visible from the site of the explosion.
Upon arrival, the first responding units start to size up the scene from a safe distance. They see many cars on fire on the roadway, there are victims from the explosion on the ground and walking around looking for help.
First responders from the scene report an overwhelming number of injuries as traffic was at a standstill at the Law Enforcement checkpoint in and around SR-323 and I-58. First responders are seeing entire families that have been burned and are deceased.
Fire and Law Enforcement reach out to emergency management and the local hospitals as best as possible and inform them that an explosion has occurred, resulting in a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI). They suspect this event is a small nuclear detonation. They report that they are observing extreme injuries and that the healthcare community needs to be prepared for the worst case of patients presenting to the hospitals. Fire and EMS have begun triage, and they are moving many victims to the dead and dying category because they cannot provide life-saving treatment.
Fire and Law Enforcement are attempting with limited success to enact mutual aid and assistance from other departments in the area.
Responding units realize that the explosion is not at the nuclear power plant but at the law enforcement checkpoint established that morning. First responders from the scene are reporting a significant number of injuries as traffic was at a standstill at the Law Enforcement checkpoint in and around SR-323 and I-58.
As first responders start encountering blast victims, they identify horrific injuries, including severe thermal burns, flash blindness, glass lacerations, and flesh peeling away from the victims’ bodies. Most individuals located closer to the checkpoint are dead, and some deceased individuals are on fire. First responders are seeing entire families that have been burned and are deceased.
Communications with first responders have been limited due to the ongoing interruptions to communications systems.
Fire and Law Enforcement reach out to emergency management and the local hospitals as best as possible and inform them that an explosion has occurred, resulting in a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI). They suspect this event is a small nuclear detonation. They report that they are observing extreme injuries and that the healthcare community needs to be prepared for the worst case of patients presenting to the hospitals. Fire and EMS have implemented triage, and they are moving many victims to the dead and dying category because they cannot provide life-saving treatment.
Responders report a plume is headed in a southwesterly direction and is starting to enter portions of Bobsville.
Bobsville emergency management sends out the following message:
Citizens of Bobsville – there has been a detonation near the nuclear power plant, with unknown hazards. Bobsville emergency management is implementing the following protective action:
Shelter-in-Place immediately, minimize travel to avoid exposure to unknown hazards and allow responders to travel freely.
Keep as much protection between oneself and the explosion as possible.
During the first two hours of the event, Bunnyville General Hospital emergency department (ED) begins receiving patients by Personal Operated Vehicle (POV) with a spectrum of injury types and severity, including eye, blast, thermal burns, heat, and fire. The hospital is reporting that they do not have enough staff and resources to treat all the injured and that many of the victims will not be able to be saved.
Schools, including the university, have initiated lockdown procedures. The local K – 12 Schools report many injuries to students as they were playing in the playground before school start time. Some buses were still running and were diverted as a safety measure, however, this was unexpected and many parents are unable to find out the status of their children on the diverted busses.
School staff are reporting that the blast has also injured parents of school children. They are attempting to treat the wounded parents and children.
Fire, Law Enforcement and Hospital staff, along with the general population of Bobsville, are concerned about family and friends who may have been in Disaster County near the explosion.
Fire, Law Enforcement, Dispatchers, and EMS responders were in the middle of shift change as the disaster occurred. Many individuals were still in the office before leaving for the day filing reports, or giving passdown information to their oncoming colleagues. As a result, many of the individuals who were about to get off work are now going into an overtime situation, adding another shift to an already long day.
Key staff have not shown up to work at critical infrastructure locations in Bobsville; some reside in Disaster County and have not reported to work. Staff members want to leave their employment locations, including Bunnyville General Hospital, to find family members in Disaster County or at schools, workplaces, and homes.
Some staff seem to be emotionally overwhelmed by the injuries that they are seeing. The resident Bunnyville mental health professionals report that staff are experiencing anger, sadness, discontent, and anxiety. Most of the population are fearful and anxious.
Community health centers are receiving an increasing number of calls and self-presenting patients that do not want to wait for treatment in what appears to be overcrowding at the Bunnyville hospital emergency department.
The behavioral health and mental health community initiate their response and recovery plans that have been exercised in Disaster County and Bobsville. They are falling within the Incident Command Structure that has been established.
As soon as they receive the “all clear”, they will initiate immediate actions to support the community and disaster victims. They are focusing on the core actions that they will implement.
Some first responders are already exhibiting signs of stress from what they are seeing and the inability to save many of the blast victims.
The Captain of Engine 1 of Bobsville Fire Department is attempting to reach his dispatch center so that they can coordinate with the mental health community to coordinate with the mental health community to provide assistance once they are in a position to leave the explosion scene.
Upon arrival at the incident scene, first responders see many victims and immediately implement notifications of an MCI.
Hospitals and community health centers in the Disaster County and Bobsville region begin experiencing patient surges within two hours of the event .
Patients are presenting with a variety of injuries with varying severity from the blast and resulting infrastructure destruction.
The public, medical staff and patients are fearful, frantic, and anxious. Staff at Bunnyville hospital are requesting to leave to check on family members and children at daycare, pre-school, and K – 12 schools.
A radioactive plume is moving towards Bobsville.
The purpose of this assignment is to examine the practicality of the terror management theory (TMT).
In the opening of your work, provide an overview of the TMT, noting the critical aspects of the theory, to demonstrate a clear understanding of what the theory is and how it can be applied in various circumstances.
Next, discuss the overall situation manual event (Modules 1-3), including the ways in which the TMT might be applied to improving the understanding of the survivors’ coping and recovery following the terror event.
In addressing the applicability of the TMT to the explosion in the situation manual, consider the survivors’ cognitive, social, cultural, and intellectual conditions as factors of influence that might skew perceptions of death and survival.
Discuss, with detail and clear examination of the available scholarly resources, why these factors should be examined in the discussion and how, or if, they affect disaster behavioral health outcomes.
As you wrap up your work, briefly discuss the appropriateness of the use of the TMT as it compares to other theories attempting to rationalize survivor thoughts and behaviors following terror events.
Select a single theory upon which you will make the contrast, clearly identifying the foundational tenants of the theory, making a solid case for which theory is most appropriate
Questions to consider when developing your paper:
What are the Psychological First Aid Core Actions that could be implemented in support of this incident?
When should the core actions begin to be provided to disaster victims?
How can the Safety and Comfort aspects of Psychological First Aid support disaster victims of Bobsville and Disaster County?
How could Psychological First Aid assist emergency management professionals in answering the many incoming calls from concerned people looking for family members or asking for information about the blast?
How could Psychological First Aid assist emergency management and the NGO’s with locating missing family members of the community?
What should the Bobsville Fire Department be preparing for as they start to think about the stressors and horrific images that the staff have witnessed?
Work should be submitted in a Word document (doc. or docx.) or other compatible word processing document (.rtf), and be 4 to 6 pages in length, excluding the required title and reference page.
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