Need some help...I am a firefighter/paramedic at a paid department of, what I consider to be, medium size. I have been on the dept. for about 2 years, but have been in public safety for about 9 years total. I have noticed that, though we supposedly have a CISD system in place (according to SOP's), it is rarely, if ever used. The system also lacks what I consider to be some key elements for a good CISD system.
Here's where you come in...I am researching other departments' CISD systems so that I can form a proposal to take to the Chief for a newer, better system that our department members would be more likely to utilize. I plan on doing some more on-line research but I figured this was the best place to start-with the people who know.
So please tell me whatever you can about your dept. CISD system, including the structure of it, success and failure stories, utilization by members-whatever you can think of. Thanks!
Good luck. As you can see, not too many responses.
There is a culture that still exists in the fire service where some department's leadership still believe that CISD is a sign of weakness, that they don't need it, any problems can be addressed internally and they don't need outsiders telling them that there is a problem.
Our department uses it and quite successfully for any incident resulting in a fatality.
I believe that it is especially important for new members, who may be working their first fatal incident. There will be questions that they must get the answers to or you will lose them very quickly.
Though every incident is on a case by case, anyone and I mean anyone on the department has the right to request a debrief.
And unless you have a clinical psychologist on staff, there will be problems that most departments are not prepared to deal with without the intervention of a trained and qualified team of CISDers.
Talk to your local hospital. Most likely, someone there is a member of a team.
And don't give up. It is important.
Contact International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
I am a Critical Incident Debriefer for my fire service in the UK. If you PM me you home address I can send some of our notes and guides to you if they will be of any help. Martin
The Mitchell Model is what is used by most CISDs in my area. I work for the FDNY Counseling Service Unit. We have everything from Drug/Alchohol counsling to Familiy Counseling. PTSD is a serious problem and evolves into a monster if unkeeped. But that aside....look up the Mitchell Model for CISD...its a very effective tool.
Here's a brief idea of what the Model is
In many ways I am very lucky, at my department we can get CISD through the nieghboring county's EMS where I work FT. We used it last a few years ago when the police got into a pursuit that ended in a fatality. I personally dont like CISD for me, but if anyone were to request it or if myself or the Chief feel we need it then we will call them out. As to how it worked at the one incident we used it ? I am not sure, I heard that people did do some talking and it hasnt affected our department in a negative way.
I really appreciate the feedback on this guys. This has become a pet project of mine and I'll need all of the help I can get. I have added the info you have given me to my notes. The websites have been very helpful.
If any of you think of anything else, please feel free to either post it here, or send it to my email at GAFIREGRL@FirehouseMail.com. Sorry, not really comfortable with posting my home address on the net, but emails are appreciated.
To Chief Reason, you are very right about the attitudes towards CISD. I am sure that I will receive some flack from that direction on this. But, when asked, most of my brothers have admitted to having at least one "bad call" that they had, or are still having, a hard time dealing with. So on with my mission...
Thanks again. Any other info will be greatly appreciated.