Social work in the wake of major disasters is an area of work that has developed rapidly over the last few years. Initially undertaken following the Valley Parade football ground fire in Bradford in May of 1985, when 56 people lost their lives, it has become a feature of post disaster work ever since. Following a major incident of this type the role and function of the rescue services, the fire service, the police and hospital staff are clear and accepted. The place of social work is less well defined, but patterns of work are emerging. In the short term, there is an immediate provision of telephone "helplines", initial visits and dissemination of information. This develops in the longer term into a "counselling" and group work approach. This volume explores the types of help which social workers offer to those affected by a disaster, and those groups of people to whom such a service is offered. The first chapter looks at the response Social Services have offered in the immediate aftermath of a major incident, the options available and some of the principal problems encountered. Chapters two and three looks at the problems involved in identifying a disaster population, gathering information and initiating longer term work. The question of highlighting significant times for those affected in the year following a major disaster is also addressed. Chapter four concentrates on aspects of work with the bereaved. From making initial contacts and identifying family networks, to issues concerned with grief, body identification, financial problems and media pressure, to linking with other bereaved and survivors, to counselling and group work. Chapter five looks specifically at the needs and problems of those who survive a major disaster, and chapters six and seven develop these themes by looking at the role and functions of individual counselling and group work with the bereaved and survivors. One of the resources most favourably commented upon by both social workers and those with whom they are working in this field is the Newsletter. Chapter eight looks at its function, content and distribution in the wake of a disaster. The final chapter looks at the possibilities for counselling after non-spectacular accidents. These, while not attracting the national media, have an equally devasting and traumatic effect on the lives and families of those involved.