The Montgomery County Department of Fire/Rescue Services Critical
Incident Stress Management Team provides stress management education,
debriefings, defusings, and demobilizations. The team also provides
one on one support for MCFRS personnel and their families at no
cost, in response to incidents of a critical nature or during
other stressful periods. Team members are drawn from the service,
both career and volunteer, civilian and uniformed. All members
are trained to national standards. The focus of this service is
to minimize the harmful effects of our job, particularly in crisis
or emergency situations. The highest priorities of the Team are
placed on confidentiality and respect for the feelings of the
individuals involved. It is not the function of the team to replace
on-going professional counseling, but to provide stress management
education and immediate crisis intervention.
The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service recognizes that
Critical Incident Stress may have a negative impact on service
personnel and their loved ones unless it is effectively addressed
through a variety of resources. A system must be in place to deal
with the stress of emergency responses both pre-incident and post-incident.
Through a joint labor and management initiative several areas
of action have been identified to assure that we have a program
in place to provide the best support available to all personnel.
We should not consider this a program for either labor or management,
career or volunteer it is a firefighter/rescuer program
to help one another.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
The program is strictly voluntary; no one is forced to attend
any portion of a defusing, debriefing or one on one. We highly
encourage everyone to be involved, sharing your experiences and
feelings about an incident can often help others. Fire/Rescue
personnel are relieved once they recognize that other fire fighters
have similar thoughts and feelings.
Only those involved in the incident can attend. During the meeting
each person is treated equally regardless of rank or time in service.
Confidentiality is strictly enforced and note taking is not allowed.
The CISM team is not obligated to discuss the outcome of each
Listed below is an outline of a debriefing, defusing and one
DEBRIEFING: Occurs up to 72 hrs. after an incident.
- Introduction - Introduce team members, explain the
rules, and agenda
- Fact Phase - Each person describes the event from his
or her own perspective.
- Thought Phase - Describe your first thoughts, how you
felt. What effected you the most?
- Reaction Phase - Identify all emotional responses and
what was the most traumatic aspect.
- Symptom Phase - Identify possible symptoms & symptoms
of a stress reaction
- Teaching Phase - Identify all the reactions are normal
and is a coping mechanism.
- Re-Entry Phase - Distribute information and answer
DEFUSING - Occurs immediately, or within 8 hours of an
incident. A defusing is a condensed version of a debriefing, lasting
up to 1 hour.
- Introduction - Introduce team members, & review
- Exploration - Discuss the incident via the rescuers,
review the facts, thoughts and their reactions.
- Information - Recognize that all reaction's are normal
and review the signs & symptoms of a stress reaction.
ONE ON ONE A Defusing with one rescuer and one CISM member.