A critical incident is any situation faced by emergency service providers that causes them to experience unusually strong emotional reactions which have the potential to interfere with their ability to function either at the scene or later.
Our CISM Teams consists of peer support personnel (firefighters, police officers, EMTs, paramedics, nurses, dispatchers and disaster response personnel) and mental health professionals. All members of the teams have been trained in the CISM process according to national standards.
When a debriefing is conducted you should expect 2 to 4 CISM Team members to be present. A debriefing is a group interaction where a team of trained people allow emergency service personnel to talk about their thoughts, actions and reactions to the stressful event. It is not group therapy and it is not a critique of the event. The information shared in a debriefing is strictly confidential. A debriefing is a time to learn what are normal expected behaviors and feelings following a stressful event and to receive assurance that you will most probably recover.
It is also a time to forewarn those who have not yet been impacted that they may be impacted later and to give all present ways to manage stress symptoms.
The main objective of a debriefing is the restoration of human dignity and self worth to people who are experiencing normal reactions and normal symptoms of distress because they were exposed to a highly abnormal event - a critical incident to them.