how to handle critical incident stress
What is Critical incident stress?
Reactions to an event may be immediate (beginning at the scene) or delayed (hours, days or even months later). One event may trigger reminders of a previous critical incident.
You can best help yourself by learning what reactions are normal, learning to cope with CIS, and seeking professional help when appropriate.
Research has indicated that certain situations are more likely to cause Critical Incident Stress in the emergency worker. These include:
Public Safety Employees play an unique role in our society and require unique personal skills. Most are action orientated individuals with a high tolerance for stress. They are willing to take risks, prepared to make sacrifices, reluctant to give up, and able to suppress emotions to get the job done.
A public safety employee's job can be a tremendous source of satisfaction. It can also be physically and emotionally draining, taking its toll on you and your family.
It may produce an occupational hazard known as Critical Incident Stress (CIS). Critical Incident Stress is a physical and/or psychological response to events that provoke unusually strong emotions. Your response to such events (Critical Incidents) may be very distressing if you do not understand that such reactions are normal. Regardless of all your experience, personality, or training, ALL public safety employees are susceptible to Critical Incident Stress.
Not everyone reacts the same way to the same emotional event. You may find yourself reacting to an event while another does not. An event may pass by without much reaction one time, yet a similar event a year later may provoke a strong reaction. Responses to emotional situations are the result of many different factors.
San Mateo County Critical Incident Stress Management Team
Critical incident stress