The Family Assistance Center has been providing comfort and care to survivors, families of the deceased, and concertgoers, concert workers, first responders, and the local community affected by the October 1 Las Vegas shooting.
Starting Monday, October 23, the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center, located at the Lied Ambulatory Care Center, will begin serving as a resource and referral center for victims, survivors and people impacted by 1 October. Initial operational hours will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Family Assistance Center at the South Hall Convention Center Site will remain open until Friday, October 20, where concertgoers can continue to retrieve personal effects abandoned at the concert site.
“The change in the location is not a change in the mission in any way,” said Deputy Fire Chief John C. Steinbeck, Clark County Fire Department and Emergency Manager for Clark County. “Our mission is still to provide as much aide, comfort and service as we can to those that were affected by this horrible and tragic event.”
Services to be provided at the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center include victim advocacy and support, counseling and spiritual care referrals, legal and documentation replacement referral, transportation help and technical assistance accessing online resources including FBI Victim Assistance Services.
Local Southern Nevada Red Cross Disaster Mental Health volunteers were also trained this week to support the long-term recovery efforts for the greater community.
“One of our best partners during this entire event has certainly been the American Red Cross,” said Chief Steinback. “I am personally very grateful for everything that they have provided and they will continue to have a role with us throughout this entire time.”
Immediately after the tragic shooting on October 1, the Red Cross sprang into action, working alongside government partners at the Emergency Operations Center and providing 450 blood products to 13 local hospitals to save lives. Over the following weeks, more than 180 trained Red Cross workers were activated to respond to this incident, opening nearly 800 cases to support over 1,200 individuals in need of services. The Red Cross also conducted over 110 home or hospital visits and also made over 6,700 health, mental health, spiritual care, and casework contacts.
“As we face long-term recovery, one of the things that we tell survivors and family members is that their emotional reactions are normal reactions to this abnormal event,” said Kate Cragwall, Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Lead at the Family Assistance Center. “But these signs of distress will diminish over time because people are naturally resilient.”
Some survivors may also be experiencing feelings of guilt, as if their choices, whether it was about attending the concert or their response to the shooting, could have prompted different outcomes to this tragic incident. “They are grappling with how to create meaning out of this event and having to come to accept that should not be held accountable for these outcomes,” said Cragwall.
The Red Cross encourages those affected to put their feelings into words and share them with someone they feel safe with. Other suggestions for coping with this disaster are avoiding social media, avoiding the news, exercising, eating healthy, and avoiding making big life decisions. “Probably at the top of the list is returning to a normal sleep pattern,” said Cagwall. Some survivors may experience uneasy feelings with sleeping during the night and are consequently becoming sleep deprived, thus negatively impacting brain functions.
If these symptoms of distress persist, the Red Cross encourages those affected to reach out to their regular health provider or call the Nevada Crisis Call Center at 800-273-8255. People can receive emotional support around-the-clock through the SAMSHA Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or by texting “TalkWithUs’ to 66746.
Additional Red Cross coping tips may be found at the following:
• For English http://www.redcross.org/Coping-Tips-for-Las-Vegas-Shooting
• For Spanish http://www.redcross.org/Coping-Tips-for-Las-Vegas-Shooting-Spanish