Articles of the Week 05/18/11
Petty Officer 1st Class Jeannette Alverio, during a one-on-one session as part of the Kodiak-based critical incident stress management teams….……island deeply because of these close ties and the Critical Incident Stress Management team has been working to offer support for the past two weeks.
Initially CISM was developed for fire services in the mid-80s and about a decade later the Coast Guard started using it for first responders to those involved in traumatic events.
“In Kodiak we have a unique situation because we’re a small community we have a joint CISM team,” said John Eaton, CISM team coordinator. “At any given time our team has 60 to 70 people, which about half are members of the local community and the other half is Coast Guardsmen.”
The CISM team is trained to provide pre-incident education, preparation, strategic planning, assessment and triage, and how to provide critical incident stress management services to individuals, small and large groups of people impacted by a traumatic event.
“When people experience critical incidents they are affected in five domains; they way they think, their emotions, their behavior, physically and spiritually,” said Eaton. “Everyone reacts differently. What’s a critical incident for me might not be for you and vice versa.”
Now it is mandatory for officers to participate in critical incident stress debriefings. These have nothing to do with how an incident unfolded or was handled, but are all about the officer and how he or she is feeling.