CISM Team: An organized group of individuals trained to support public safety personnel who are involved in emergency operations. The purpose of this group is to assist in mitigating long-term effects of stress
Critical Incident: Any situation faced by fire and EMS personnel or other IFD personnel that causes them to experience unusually strong emotional reactions which have the potential to interfere with their ability to function.
Facilitator: A mental health professional who is a licensed clinician and is trained in disaster psychology, crisis intervention, stress level assessment and critical incident stress debriefing and is familiar with public safety operations.
CISM Team Coordinator(s): IFD personnel who serve as team leader(s). The Coordinator(s) can also act as Peer Support Worker(s). These individual(s) have the operational responsibility for the CISM Program. The CISM Coordinator(s) are appointed by the Chief of the Department. The coordinator(s) are responsible for scheduling of trainings, determining response to calls for service, scheduling team meetings and coordinating the selection process.
Team Member (Peer Support Personnel): Representative of IFD trained and approved by the facilitator to assist with the CISM process.
The IFD team member’s role on the debriefing team will be to assist and support the mental health professionals as necessary. Any follow-up care will be administered by the IFD EAP Program. This follow up can be done with the appropriate mental health professionals. METHODS:
There are many methods for dealing with stress resulting from exposure to a critical incident. Among them are strenuous physical exercise, proper diet, and relaxation techniques within 24 hours of the critical incident. However, one of the most effective methods, especially with emergency personnel, is a Stress Debriefing.
Debriefing: The debriefing process provides a format in which personnel can discuss their feelings and reactions regarding a stressful incident, thus reducing the reactions stress which can result from exposure to a traumatic event or series of traumatic events. There are no written or recorded notes and all debriefing(s) will be STRICTLY CONFIDENTAL. : Critical incident debriefing is not a critique of fire department operations at the incident. A debriefing is scheduled 24 hours to 10 days after the event whenever possible. (2 – 4 weeks following mass disasters)
Defusing: A defusing is similar to a debriefing, but is usually done 3 to 4 hours post incident or before the end of the shift. All defusing(s) will be STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.
One-On-One: A one-on-one is an individual meeting with a CISM Team member designed to return the employee to function, mitigate symptoms of stressful event(s) and/or make referrals as needed. This meeting may take place during the affected individual’s tour of duty, or at any other time and place. The meeting may be initiated by an officer; however, it may come as a suggestion from a co-worker, supervisor or the individual who is affected. A CISM team member may initiate the session after learning about the incident. Demobilization: A demobilization is a primary stress prevention and intervention technique which occurs immediately after personnel are released from a large-scale incident and before they return to their normal duties or return home. The demobilization is provided in a safe and secure environment, and is out of the view of the public and media. A demobilization is similar to a defusing but allows the affected personnel to rest and take of immediate physical needs.
Deactivation: A deactivation is the removal of an affected individual from duty for the remainder of his/her shift and the recommendation should be coordinated with the individual’s officer or supervisor.
Pre-Incident Education: Information provided to IFD personnel and their families to improve coping skills, increase awareness of symptoms of critical incident stress, suicide, depression, and anxiety that may occur as a result of involvement in a critical incident.