When developing an outreach strategy for your disaster response program, remember that an outreach strategy:

  • Is based on the initial needs assessment and, like the needs assessment, should be adjusted throughout the response.
  • Identifies a geographic and demographic plan for outreach that includes addressing survivors throughout the lifecycle spectrum (infants and toddlers who react to their caregiver’s stress; school-aged children and youth whose distress symptoms can vary widely from regression to high risk behaviors; adults who are caregivers of children and others including elderly parents; frail elderly with chronic medical concerns or limited mobility and survivors of any age with limited access and functional needs) .
  • Identifies the special populations within the affected community.
  • Provides a plan for addressing survivors’ primary needs, emotional supports for families of victims, and broad scale psycho-education for the whole community.
  • Identifies ethical issues to ensure consideration of immigrant groups, limited proficiency and non-English speaking populations, and others with functional or access needs.
  • Identifies those with serious and persistent mental illnesses, substance misuse concerns and others with preexisting emotional disorders in need of ongoing outpatient care by working with the local provider community for appropriate linkages and referrals. 
  • Suggests ways that the needs of those people less directly affected are also addressed.
  • Includes canvassing tips.
  • Provides a plan for decreasing and focused outreach as the program winds down to close-out.