Preventing Emotional Overload

     The personality profile of the emergency service worker is one that is action oriented tainted with the concept of control. It is not hard to figure out what drives the average emergency service worker. It is the adrenaline rush that is...

     Survival techniques include being able to identify the stressor. Without identifying
the stressor you have not found the root problem and you would only be treating the
superficial symptoms. This becomes a family issue, not just coworkers but also the
significant others. Look for solutions and take a solution-oriented approach. This will
allow you to stay focused and in good spirits. For families, be tolerant of the stressed
individual. You cannot sympathize with them you can only offer support. Remember this
is a time that emotions are running rampant and in a multitude of directions. Family
cohesion will help support and maintain a healing environment. Finally communication
is a key factor. Talk about the issues as they come up. Families need to be active
     Finally, how do we educate our significant others? First we must overcome the
"complacency" that is present in the emergency services and realize that we are not
invincible. The next step is to get the significant others involve by providing them stress
education as well as the emergency responders. After critical incidents that effect
the significant others, such as a line of duty death, have Critical Incident Debriefings that
target the significant others. Additionally, there are programs that address Critical
Incidents and Significant Others education. The significant others are a support group that has been over looked when it comes to the role that they play in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). We spend as approximately one third of our life at work. In theory we spend two thirds of our lives with our significant others. So with that in mind who really needs to understand the effects of stress and how to be proactive in therapeutic techniques
     In large areas it is not as common practice as small areas to have whole families
engaged in Emergency Services of that community. The reason being is the population
difference. In small communities it is not uncommon that parents, children and other
family members are involved. What type of impact does this create if there is a
significant incident. An example may be a fatal motor vehicle crash that involves a
person of the community. Often times in small communities the responders will often
times be related or close personal relationship with that individual. Thus it impacts the
 entire community. To expand that same thought to the other end of the spectrum…a line
of duty death. It is documented that family members have been on scene engaged in
emergency scene operations when this event occurs. What type of stress level does this
produce? What is the emotional impact both short and long term? Both can have a
catastrophic effect on the lives of small community responders.
     We provide a critical portion to the mitigation of emergencies in our society. We
must take preventative actions to protect ourselves and our families from stress related
events through stress education. We must change the idiosyncrasies of the emergency
services as people who can handle it.   Programs which address Critical Incident Stress
education are crucial and it can make an astonishing difference in the well being of
Emergency Responders. There are many program available to help you deal with stress
and the prevention of stress. Take time to be proactive rather than reactive.
     For further information on Critical Incident Stress and Significant Others Education   
programs you may contact the author of this article at