CRITICAL INCIDENT STRESS MANAGEMENT

QUAD COUNTY CRITICAL INCIDENT STRESS MANAGEMENT TEAM

The Quad County Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team was established in September of 1993. Individuals from Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette and Waushara counties created an alliance between a diverse group of professionals who saw the value of CISM order to keep personnel healthy and productive. The team consists of firefighters, law enforcement, paramedics, EMTs, dispatchers, mental health professionals, and medical professionals who are trained in CISM techniques. They meet regularly to process team functions and update skills.


Critical Incident Stress Management is an intervention protocol developed specifically for dealing with traumatic events. Emergency personnel are often exposed to these types of “critical incidents” and sometimes those incidents are particularly difficult and/or painful to deal with. A “critical incident” can sometimes overwhelm an individual and can make it difficult for them to cope with the normal day-to-day aspects of life. Individuals can react negatively to these events in many different ways and it can have serious effects on them both personally and professionally afterward. By receiving services prior to and after these types of difficult experiences, it is hoped that the long-term negative effects that can result from non-intervention can be avoided.


Examples of Critical Incidents

·        Line of duty death / serious injury

·        Death / suicide of colleague

·        Multiple injury event

·        Injury or death of a child

·        A prolonged incident


CISM is a formal, highly structured and professionally recognized process for helping those involved in a critical incident to share their experiences, vent emotions, learn about stress reactions and symptoms and given referral for further help if required.  It is not psychotherapy.  It is a confidential, voluntary and educative process, sometimes called 'psychological first aid'.


First developed for use with military combat veterans and then civilian First Responders (police, fire, ambulance, emergency workers and disaster rescuers), these types of programs have now been adapted and used virtually everywhere there is a need to address traumatic impact in peoples lives. 
 

Debriefing is a proactive intervention involving a group meeting or discussion about a particularly distressing critical incident. Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) is based on core principles of crisis intervention; the CISD is designed to mitigate the impact of a critical incident and to assist the persons in recovery from the stress associated with the event. CISD is facilitated by a specially trained team which includes professional and peer support personnel and is ideally conducted between 24 and 72 hours after the incident, but may be held later under exceptional circumstances.


Defusing
is an intervention that is a shorter, less formal version of a debriefing. It generally lasts from 30 to 60 minutes, but may go longer and is best conducted within one to four hours after a critical incident. It is not usually conducted more than 12 hours after the incident. Like a debriefing, it is a confidential and voluntary opportunity to learn about stress, share reactions to an incident and vent emotions. The main purpose is to stabilize people affected by the incident so that they can return to their normal routines without unusual stress. Where appropriate, a formal debriefing also be required.


Important CISM points

  • There is no cost involved
  • Confidentiality is maintained
  • Services are not a critique of job performance
  • A mental health professional is available to assist anyone in need
  • The team provides educational information on how to cope with traumatic experiences and when to seek professional help.


How to access Quad County CISM Services


The team is available for CISM services in Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, and Waushara Counties.


City of Fond du Lac Fire Department’s team member and contact person is:


Firefighter/Paramedic Edgar Ramirez-Tellez

815 S. Main St.

Fond du Lac, WI 54935

920-322-3800 – during business hours

920-322-3803 –after business hours

eramireztelles@fdl.wi.gov

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