What the York Region CISM Team can do for you

The York Region CISM Team provides training and education, and can be called upon to provide an intervention after a traumatic event.

Emergency services workers often encounter serious incidents. Most however are not traumatic to the seasoned worker. When an emergency service worker does encounter a traumatic incident the York Region CISM Team can provide assistance. In many cases, Police officers, Firefighters, Paramedics, and emergency room staff at the hospital can be involved in the same Critical Incident. Our team can provide assistance in the following ways:

A peer will make contact with the worker to learn a bit about the experience from the individual’s perspective.  This might be a phone call but efforts are always made to meet in person.  This is an opportunity for the individual who experienced a critical incident to ask questions and gain understanding about normal reactions.  Needs are assessed by the team member and assistance, follow-up or referral provided as appropriate.

Peers and occasionally a mental health professional will meet small groups of emergency services workers at the end of a shift that involved a critical incident.  This voluntary gathering is an opportunity to speak about the incident and receive information about stress reactions.  Team members always stick around afterward to speak with any member who has questions or needs assistance.

The CISM Debriefing involves peers and a mental health professional.   This formal process usually lasts anywhere from one to three hours and may involve members of various emergency services.  Debriefings are usually held within 72 hours of an incident but the reality of busy lives and shift work means they may be a week after a traumatic event.  Consistently judged by participants as being helpful, the debriefing process is voluntary.  Support afterward comes in the form of on-on-one interactions, referrals to mental health professionals, and follow-up contact in the weeks or months following the debriefing.

R.I.T.S. – Rest, Information, and Transition Services.
In the event of a very serious event or a disaster, CISM workers will provide a short information session and the opportunity to wind down in a safe setting before returning to regular duties or reporting off duty.  Major incidents extending over a period of days present a special kind of stress to emergency services workers and receive special attention from the CISM Team.


York Region CISM Team’s Goal

The goal of the York Region CISM Team is to assist emergency services workers and their families to stay healthy.

Everyone should:

  • Consider a healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet and physical exercise.
  • Find a balance between work and quality leisure, or time with your family.
  • Consider mental preparation as a training exercise, whether formal or on your own. Prepare your mind for some of the traumatic events you could encounter at work.
  • Offer an ear to a peer who may need to talk to someone. That peer may in turn assist you when you need it.
  • Contact the CISM team when you need assistance.