What is a critical incident?
A critical incident is an event that is out of the ordinary and involves some form of human suffering or anguish. Critical incidents can result in distress and strong emotional responses from those affected. Such events usually overwhelm normal coping strategies and are disruptive to the workplace.
Critical Incident Examples:
- Unexpected death of a co-worker
- Personal identification or relationship with the individuals who suffered
- Tragic or gruesome incidents
- Violence in the workplace
- Pediatric or infant death
- Actual assaults or threat of injury
- Terrorist attacks
- Natural disasters
- Cumulative events
Critical Incident Aftermath
When our individual, normal coping strategies are ineffective, our capacity to carry out functions of the job may be compromised. Persons touched by the incident are "impacted". Unmanaged critical incidents may lead to:
- Decreased morale
- Depression, social withdrawal
- Fatigue and sleep disturbance
- Distractibility, memory impairment
- Irritability, angry outbursts
- Diminished professional judgment, increased work errors
- Burn-out, premature resignation of experienced staff
Critical Incident Response
Work & Life Matters will make every effort to respond promptly and provide the appropriate support. Our experience has demonstrated that it is advantageous for directors and managers to take the lead in accessing the critical incident response. If any employee suspects or believes a critical incident has occurred, their manager or supervisor needs to be contacted immediately. On-call services are available.
To seek assistance or if you have any questions regarding Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), please call 310-423-6447 or 800-319-8111.