By Sandra Williams, Calgary Zone CISM Coordinator
A critical incident is any situation or incident which causes you to experience unusually strong emotional reactions and which has the potential to interfere with your ability to function as you did prior to the incident.
Critical Incident Stress (CIS)….
When patrollers respond to a difficult or traumatic accident, it is likely they will be affected adversely by the incident to some degree. These situations can be very much outside of our realm of “normal” and dealing with them afterwards can be very challenging. Sometimes there can be difficulty sleeping, sometimes there may be nightmares or recurring nightmares, sometimes we can’t stop thinking about the incident, sometimes alcohol or drugs are abused, sometimes our relationships with families are affected. These are all signs that the incident has had a negative impact.
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These are normal reactions, by normal people, to an abnormal event.
Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) and Defusing….
We have found that when patrollers have the opportunity to talk about the incident, share their thoughts during the incident and their reactions to the incident, it unquestionably helps in the healing process. Calgary Zone has patrollers trained to help guide these structured conversations. This process is Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and Defusing. And simply put, it works. It works one-on-one and it works in small or large groups.
Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM)….
CISM / CISD is a crucial and important service the Calgary Zone CSP provides internally to our patrolling teams. If you or a fellow patroller is experiencing CIS, the sooner it is discussed, the better. Talk to a trusted patroller. Talk to those Patrollers involved. Discuss it at ‘boots off’.
If you suspect a potential for post-traumatic stress for yourself or a fellow patroller(s), immediately notify your Patrol Leader and/or contact Sandra directly at [email protected]. She will contact a CISM Team Member to follow up. Everything is confidential. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
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