Thinking through the unthinkable

‘What do we say to people? They still need help’: Bushfire first responder service at risk

First responders who have saved Australians from bushfires, floods and other natural disasters could lose access to vital mental health services in a matter of months when a $4 million government program ends.

“Firefighters do a lot of different types of trauma work. And now we are seeing people deployed to flood regions and that’s compounding the stress even further.”

Professor Richard Bryant, Black Dog Institute

The federal government allocated $4 million for the Traumatic Stress Clinic, which is run by the world-renowned Black Dog Institute, to provide a free psychological program for first responders, emergency services workers, volunteers and their families in the wake of the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires…READ ON

Thinking through the unthinkable

“Left of boom” is a military idiom adopted by US forces during the Iraq War that originally referred to efforts to disrupt insurgents before they planted improvised explosive devices (IED) that could kill American troops; in other words, before the IED went boom.

A leftover fallout shelter sign in New York City
 Spencer Platt/Getty Images

It has since grown to become an all-purpose corporate buzzword, in everything from cybersecurity to disaster planning, for actions that can be taken to anticipate and prevent a catastrophe before it happens.

There’s a (literal) flip side to this concept: “right of boom,” which covers everything that can be done to mitigate the effects and enhance resilience after disaster strikes. While “left of boom” strategies in their original meaning involved everything from better intelligence of insurgents’ movements to plotting out safer patrol routes, “right of boom” meant hardening armour, improving medical care, and even boosting psychological resilience.

If “left of boom” is meant to prevent the worst from happening, “right of boom” is meant to prevent what happens from becoming the worst…READ ON

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