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.
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
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
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:
near-death on the job
Traumatic/unexpected death of a child
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
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.