Music Therapy and Disaster Recovery

Blythe LaGasse and Barb Else will be on the show on November 9 to talk about Disaster Preparedness and Recovery.

Blythe LaGasse is Assistant Professor of music therapy at Colorado State University. She maintains a private practice where she serves persons with autism spectrum disorders. She is also the founder of the Music Therapy Research Blog.  Blythe is a survivor of the high park fire, a wildfire that destroyed the homes of 259 families this past summer.

Barb Else is Senior Advisor, Research and Policy with the American Music Therapy Association. Barbara has extensive experience as a hospital-based music therapist and as a researcher in health policy and economics. Her clinical focus is with children and adults on issues associated with disaster response, trauma, and recovery. Barbara assists in the coordination of disaster response for AMTA and among music therapists and students in the U.S. She also consults with the World Federation of Music Therapy, Commission on Global Crises.

Barb is a volunteer with the American Red Cross and the Medical Reserve Corps active in disaster services/mental health and training. Her interests in that capacity concentrate on the benefits of psychological first aid, creativity and the role of music and creative arts therapies in disaster response, and leadership and spirituality in high stress environments. Barb has served as speaker on the topic of disaster response and the role of music therapy in disaster recovery at various events and meetings including Ankara, Turkey for a NATO-sponsored advanced science symposium, in China and Taiwan with first and second responders, and throughout the U.S. as an instructor in psychological first aid. Her publication credits focus on health policy, research methods, trauma and music therapy, and health economics. She was deployed to New Jersey, but sent the following tips:

1) Have an emergency readiness plan in place and take precautions to protect yourselves and your family.

2) Establish a simple plan to communicate (telephone, internet, mail) with family and important contacts. If you have to evacuate register with the Red Cross `Safe and Well’ database and contact AMTA, when able, to let us know your status.

3) Conduct and document an inventory of your home contents. Store that information in a secure safe location.

4) Conduct a similar inventory for your professional materials and supplies.

5) Keep your insurance information (homeowners, renter, etc.) in a safe accessible location. Know and understand your coverage for high value professional music instruments.

6) Make use of emergency evacuation checklists available from the Red Cross and your area emergency management office.

7) If you are under pre-evacuation alert orders, take the order seriously and prepare to evacuate whether you need to or not.

8 ) If air quality is poor and/or you are prone to asthma and respiratory issues, keep high quality masks on hand and consider evacuating earlier than ordered.

9) Have a plan ready for your pets and contact the Humane Society for referrals.

10) Be prepared to have supplies on hand to tide you over for longer than you think you might have to evacuate.

11) Prepare your clients, as needed, should you have to take time off to deal with a weather emergency.

12) Check in with AMTA through the Region or the National Office and let us know how you are doing and any needs you may have.

Listen to internet radio with Janice Lindstrom on Blog Talk Radio

Listen to internet radio with Janice Lindstrom on Blog Talk Radio