What can be done?
The most important thing is to realize that the symptoms of Critical Incident Stress are normal reactions to an abnormal event. Do not be hard on yourself or others. Talking to peers about the incident and stress reactions is very helpful.
What we can do for you:
Pre-incident education - A one hour inservice on critical incident stress for departments.
Defusing - A brief group meeting within 24 hours following a critical incident for on-scene emergency personnel.
Debriefings - This prodedure is conducted by a team consisting of professional counsellors and peer firefighters trained in CISD. During the session, participants are able to talk about what happened, their thoughts and reactions about the incident and what symptoms of Critical Incident Stress (CIS) they may be having. Education and helpfull hints on how to cope with CIS are provided.
On Scene support - Assistance during prolonged incidents.
Responding to a critical incident is a shock to the entire system and physical well-being is very important following such an event. Exercise, rest, and nutricious meals, low in fat, salt and especially sugar will help your body and your emotions return to normal. It is wise to limit intake of caffeine and alcohol as these drugs can interfere with your body's natural recovery process.
REMEMBER to try to remain positive, but if things do not return to normal after a few weeks, it may be necessary to seek additional help from a physician, pastor, CISM team member or a mental health professional.