Can Help Emergency Workers Deal With Stress
Taking Care of Our Own - October 20-23, 2016
Teams work with individuals or groups of emergency medical services, fire and police personnel who may suffer from stress after being involved in a critical incident. Team members provide pre-incident education and post-incident defusing, demobilization and debriefing.
Examples of critical incidents are:
Injury or death of an emergency worker
Injury or death of children
Mass casualty incidents
Threats to emergency worker's safety
The constant intake of stress or encountering a highly stressful event can cause the emergency service professional to suffer stress reaction symptoms. These symptoms may include:
Problem solving difficulties
Identification with the victims
Fear of repetition of the stressful event
Mood swings and depression
Changes in sleep patterns
Changes in eating and work habits
Unusual actions or behaviors
A debriefing should be requested if stress symptoms continue beyond the first 48-72 hours of the incident. Overwhelming stress symptoms usually occur in the first 24-48 hours following a critical incident. If you or your agency is in need of CISM Team assistance, please contact your area's team. CISM brochures are available from the Office of EMS.
For more information on CISM contact Karen Owens, Emergency Operations Manager, at Karen.Owens@vdh.virginia.gov.