Health & Safety

What Is Critical Incident Stress? How Do We Manage It?

Issue 03 and Volume 173.

By Ali Rothrock In the fire service, we don’t look at our actions in the line of duty from the point of reactivity. We don’t arrive on the scene of a working house fire with the apparatus in no particular order, wondering who is going to hit the hydrant and then draw straws to see who is going to advance the line in the front door. We don’t arrive at vehicle accidents with entrapment and wait until we’re looking at the patients who need our help to determine who is going to stabilize the car, who is going to operate the power tools, and who is going to make entry into the vehicle. We are prepared ahead of time for it all. We study major incidents like September 11, 2001, and glean knowledge like the safest location for the command post and how to manage an incident on that scale.…

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