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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
October 25, 2016
Canadian Excellence


Terry Mitchell

Swiss Air flight 111: disaster response impacts: Lessons learned from the voices of 7 disaster volunteers

Mitchell, T., Walters, B., & Stewart, S.

published: 2006 | Research publication | Swiss Air Flight 111 Disaster

This qualitative research study provides insight into the specific experiences, trauma, and
needs of disaster volunteers as an understudied and marginalized sector of response and
recovery personnel. Based on a qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews, the authors
present the tasks, exposures, impacts, and search for meaning of the Swissair Flight 111
disaster volunteers who were exposed to human remains during response and recovery
efforts. The article is structured to amplify the voices of volunteers to reveal the specificity of
disaster fieldwork and resultant multilevel impacts critical to understanding and
responding to contemporary disasters. The article concludes with a discussion of the need
for clinical and operational policies and protocols that acknowledge the risk and impact of
volunteer exposure to human remains and serve to protect the well-being of future
volunteer disaster response and recovery workers.

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revised Apr 4/13

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