Jeffrey Mitchell, Ph.D., (Co-founder of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation) has defined a critical incident as:
“Any 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.”
Emergency Ministries is able to provide Crisis Response/Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) teams, when requested, with members who have been trained through ACIRT (and to ICISF standards). These teams are comprised of first responder/emergency services peers and selected members of the clergy (chaplains) all trained in various crisis intervention strategies, along with mental health professionals (MHP) who are cross-trained for emergency service agencies. Our Clinical Director is Sherry Cardinal, LCSW, founder of CISM International.
Timing of CISM Services:
We should respond to the needs of crisis victims as they arise. The first efforts ought to be made to make sure they are safe and protected from harm. Any life threatening conditions should be handled by emergency personnel. No one should have to wait some specific time frame like 24 to 72 hours to receive crisis intervention services. That makes no sense. Once trauma victims are identified, you need to assess their specific needs. Some will need little to nothing, some will have extensive needs. Priorities ought to be safety and security first, then physical needs such as food, water, shelter. Next, people should be regrouped with their natural groups such as families, friends, neighbors. Then they should be reassessed to see what other issues they may need assistance with. The big concerns for crisis workers ought to be 1) who needs assistance and who does not? 2) what types of help or intervention(s) are necessary? 3) what is the best time to initiate the intervention(s) according to the needs and wishes of the people who need help. 4) are there concerns and issues that those providing assistance should be aware of? For example, if family members are missing, we should assist people in notifying authorities and connecting with the Red Cross for direct assistance and follow-up. 5) Finally, we should make sure that the most appropriate resources are available to render the right assistance at the most advantageous time. The guidelines for specific times apply mostly to the best times to apply certain interventions to certain groups of people. They should not be applied blindly to every possible target of crisis intervention under every possible circumstance. People are individuals and have different needs at different times. In conclusion, we should initiate assistance when people ask for it or when there are indications that they are ready for assistance. A crisis action plan must be put together based on the needs of those in a state of crisis and when they are ready for help not on some arbitrary time limitation that does not apply to their specific needs.
Jeffrey T. Mitchell, Ph.D.
Goals of the ACIRT:
Our goal is quite similar to the Mission Statement of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF): To provide leadership, education, training, chaplaincy, consultation and support services in crisis intervention and disaster behavioral health services to emergency response professions.
Emergency Ministries ACIRT teams and personnel provide an organized approach to the management of stress reactions for emergency service personnel who have been exposed to, or who are showing signs of, traumatic stress experienced in the line of duty. The focus is to minimize the harmful effect of job stress, and accelerate the recovery of those personnel who have been traumatized in these situations.
Our Chaplains and ACIRT Teams are not counseling or therapy providers. It is NOT the function of any ACIRT team or team member to replace professional counseling or employee assistance programs, but to provide immediate, incident specific, and supportive crisis intervention with a proven model.
CISM Course Information
Emergency Ministries’ ACIRT teaches six different CISM training courses. The curriculum of each is recognized by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF), Inc. and our Lead Chaplain and Training Coordinator, Paul Tabor, is an ICISF-approved instructor.
- Assisting Individuals in Crisis
- Advanced Assisting Individuals in Crisis
- Group Crisis Intervention
- Individual AND Group Crisis Intervention
- Advanced Group Crisis Intervention
- Pastoral Crisis Intervention
Newest class now being offered…
For our students coming from out of town for our Spring, Texas classes, we have some exciting news! The Comfort Suites Hotel at 323 East Louetta Road, Tx, 77373 (literally within walking distance of the classroom at Spring First Department headquarters) is offering a special $99 flat rate to all students! You must make your reservations at this link. Comfort Suites in Spring – Student Rate
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|Texas Department of State Health Services (EMS)
||Expires 30 June 2017
|Texas State Board of Social Workers Examiners
||Expires 31 May 2017
|Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors
||Expires 31 May 2017
|Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists
||Expires 30 June 2017