Critical Incident

What is a Critical Incident Debriefing?

It is generally accepted that law enforcement people are exposed to stressful events to a higher degree than most other professions. The negative effects of stress are known to most of us, if not on a cognitive level, certainly on an experiential level. Acute stress reactions often follow a critical incident. A critical incident may be described as "any situation faced by [police] personnel that causes them to experience strong emotional reactions which have the potential to interfere with their ability to function either at the scene or later on."

There are certain events that can be so dramatic, shocking, or disturbing to our collective psyches that we agree they are stressful and therefore critical incidents. These of course include natural disasters, multiple fatalities and/or injuries, shootings, prolonged search and rescue operations, and the death or serious injury to a fellow officer. We have learned that the more frequently an individual experiences threat to his/her physical and psychological integrity, the more likely he would be injured and damaged psychologically. Those of us who work with the law enforcement community find that 90% of personnel exposed to critical incidents experience some emotional, physical or psychological reaction to that exposure.

Critical Incident

A Critical Incident is defined as any event with sufficient emotional reactions in people now or later. It is an event, which is considered generally outside the range of ordinary human experiences. The incident may be the foundation for PTSD if it is not resolved effectively and quickly. The Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) has been developed to help people cope with the most stressful events. It was designed with the routine in mind. Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) should not be applied only to those events, which are extraordinary. Overuse of the process will dilute its potency and cause it to be far less helpful on more serious events. If mildly disturbing events occur, other types of interventions should be applied.

What is Critical Incident Stress (cid)?

Critical Incident Stress is defined as: Any situation faced by Emergency Services Personnel that causes them to experience unusually strong emotional reactions which have the potential to interfere with their ability at the scene or later, generates unusually strong feelings in the emergency service workers.

What Is Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM)?

CISM is the process of educating, preventing or mitigating the effects from exposure to an abnormal or highly unusual event. A comprehensive CISM program would include: Preventive/Educational/Informational programs for Emergency Service Workers (ESW), On Scene Support Advice to Command Demobilization Services. Formal Debriefings Resource Referral Services. Family/Loved One Support Services. Support to Emergency Management. Support to Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). Programs Community Awareness.