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Emergency Management
 

                      

 

The Grant County CISM Team was established to assist emergency service responders and dispatchers who have experienced a critical incident such as line of duty death, death of a child, multiple casualty/ fatality scenes, etc.  

The widely-accepted description of a critical incident is:

ďAny situation faced by emergency service personnel that causes them to experience unusually strong emotional reactions which have the potential to interfere with their ability to function either at the scene or later. All that is necessary is that the incident, regardless of the type, generates unusually strong feelings in the emergency workers.Ē

The CISM team is an all-volunteer organization that serves all emergency service providers in the Columbia Basin and beyond. There are no fees for our crisis services.

The Team is on call 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and can be reached through MACC Dispatch at 509-762-1160. Simply state to the dispatcher that you would like to talk to the CISM team, provide contact information and you will receive an immediate response from a Team member. We will discuss with you the appropriate intervention and timing to assist you and/or your staff.

Common situations we are contacted for include:

  • Death or near-death on the job

  • Traumatic/unexpected death of a child

  • Suicide of coworker

  • Acts of terrorism

  • Mass casualty incidents

  • Officer involved shooting

  • 'Bad Calls'

There are many other circumstances where it may be beneficial for the CISM team to be contacted. Please do not hesitate to call us for any concerns or questions you may have.

CISM Team Leaders: Tammy Hewlett and Ron Renken

 

What is CISM? Critical Incident Stress Management is a structured intervention, designed to accelerate the recovery of emergency responder personnel. Any traumatic event that leads to an unusually powerful stress reaction, and overwhelms the personís ability to adjust emotionally is a critical incident. Critical incident Debriefings are supplemented with demobilization, defusing, briefings, and one-on-one encounters.

There is no doubt that working in emergency services exposes workers to numerous stressors. Critical incidents include, but are not limited to, deaths in the line of duty, coworkers committing suicide, significant events involving relatives or knowing the victims, excessive media interest, and disaster or mass casualty events.

Traumatic experiences are long remembered by involved individuals. Those experiences can affect people in ways that alter their future functioning. Law Enforcement along with all emergency workers observe violence, injury and death almost daily. Each traumatic experience leaves behind an impression that has to be processed and managed or they become a distress for the emergency worker. The CISM Teams offer the opportunity for emergency workers involved in a common incident to come together and debrief. It allows for the opportunity to clear up questions and rumors. It speeds the recovery period to resume normalcy.

Why have CISM? We have to provide support to keep our emergency responders healthy, so they can keep us safe and healthy. Dedicated to emergency work, they experience death, violence, crisis, and emotional fatigue. This can add up to unusually strong emotional reactions that could interfere with the ability to function.

We have to restore the health and environment of the affected individuals to decrease traumatic stress effects, and to speed recovery and productivity when they do occur. An important feature is helping the individual recognize that the danger has passed and the need to react also has passed. It is important to remember that the individual is normal, the reactions are normal, only the event is abnormal.

Who is on the team? The CISM Team is made up of peers from all city and county entities. We have mental health professional support and chaplains. The peers include, but are not limited to law enforcement, fire, school, ambulance, dispatch, and many others. There is a lot of time and commitment that must be given by this group. Debriefers are experienced, trained, and certified through the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation.

What is our role? We provide several different avenues of support. During large drawn-out events, we respond and function within the incident command structure as a supportive role. We watch for physical needs and monitor those workers still actively involved in the incident. The team leader reports to the incident commander on the physical well being of the workers. We provide an arena for venting and an opportunity for personnel to know that they are not alone in the way they are feeling or in their perception of the situation.

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