What is a Critical Incident?
A Critical Incident is any event that causes an unusually intense stress reaction. In the workplace, a Critical Incident may be defined as a workplace event which produces significant reactions in employees who are impacted by the event either directly or indirectly. Witnesses of the event, colleagues/co-workers, client and/or family members my all be impacted by Critical Incidents.
Examples of Critical Incidents may include:
- Auto accidents
- Industrial accidents
- Sudden death of an employee
What is a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD)? A CISD is a professionally conducted process to help people cope with and recover from an incident’s aftereffects. A major consequence of a traumatic event is that people feel order and control in their life has been lost. CISD participants come to understand that they are not alone in their reactions to a distressing event and are provided with the opportunity to discuss their reactions in a controlled and safe environment.
Optimally, a CISD is conducted within 24-72 hours of an incident.
Some objectives of a CISD include:
- To provide a means for emotional expression by individuals involved in the event
- To decrease distressing symptoms and prevent the onset of PTSD
- To regain the capacity for self-control
- To provide emotional support and enhance group cohesion
- To alleviate disabling fears and anxieties caused by the event
- To inform individuals about expected reactions and coping strategies
- To assess individual coping skills and make necessary referrals
- To identify and access additional resources or support systems
- To arrange for effective follow-up
- To obtain closure For additional information on CISD or to arrange a CISD for your workplace, click here