We jumped into the CISM business just over a year ago, and have about 20 firefighters (and a couple of civilian ministers) on our team. We've been knocking around the idea of using CISM techniques with fire victims (or accident victim family) while on the scene or in the immediate post-event period. Our idea is to incorporate Victim CISM into our Victim Impact Assistance Program, which is a joint FD/Red Cross venture that allows fire personnel to act as Red Cross representatives to give victims immediate recovery assistance.
Do any of you do this? Any success or failures? Any thoughts on making it work?
James A. Whitfield, Jr., MCEM
Sunflower County Fire Coordinator
Battalion 1 - The Pride of the South
You can use an ammended form of the debriefing procedure for civilians, however it would be imperative to keep such debriefings separate and distinct from the debriefings of Emergency Services Personnel.
One of the things that makes the Mitchell CISD model work so well is the use of peers in the Emergency Services. I'm not sure who could function as peers when dealing with the general public.
In our county we have two teams -- the CISM Team for Fire/EMS, and also a "Community Response Team" comprised of individuals who are not on the CISM team. While the majority of the individuals on the community team are trained in CISM, I am not certain if they use the Mitchell model when dealing with the public, or have their own hybrid approach. (Our community team responds to things like bank robberies, major fires, etc...)
You probably could get some information on this from the experts at www.icisf.org.
Rev. John G. Fleischmann
Suffolk Co. NY CISM Team
Our region has a program called T.I.P Volunteers which is entirely separate entity which is made up of citizens trained to aid civilians. They a part of a national organization called Trauma Intervention Program Volunteers.In our area our TIP group is comprised of about 30 volunteers who rotate a 24/7 oncall basis. They are compelety separate for any emergency cism or peer support functions but have proved very helpul on many occasions...
Fr. Jim Seymour
Lawrence Fire Dept. (MA)
Jim we also kicked this around but felt we were to close to the incident we have added a community mental health team to our group that handles witnesses/victims. We had a lot of these after some summer incidents. They also handle situations involving school kids for us. They operate seperate from us but we do get together every other month to discuss issues and let each other know what is going on. We tried it on one incident and found they wanted to get more into why the fire department did what they did and we felt like we were defending them(even though they did nothing wrong) try to keep it with peers if possible
Yes, we should do somthing with the victims of accidents. I was involved in an on-duty accident, was entrapted for over an hour luckily only a few minor physical injuries, But its eight and 1/2 months later and the psychlogical scars of that accident are not gone. I wished someone would have done some cism work with me. If it wasn't for a good friend,and two brother firefighters I would not have made it through Christmass.