After the fire: the mental health consequences of fire disasters

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This article aims to summarize recent findings relating to the impact of fire disasters on the mental health of victims, responders, families and communities within the context of the existing literature.

Recent findings

Recent studies support previous findings that fire disasters are associated with a negative impact on the mental and physical health of victims, their families and professional and voluntary responders to the disasters. These effects can be delayed in onset and can persist over at least several years, although long-term follow-up studies over 20 years or more indicate that the psychological effects on victims are minimal relative to controls by this stage.

Summary

Fire disasters, like other natural or man-made disasters, can have significant mental health impact on individuals directly and indirectly affected and on communities caught up in the events.

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