Community Member Support
The Community Crisis Response Team provides crisis support services to businesses, organizations, schools and community members impacted by a critical incident or event with the goal of minimizing the impact of the event, accelerating the recovery process and educating participants on normal reactions to abnormal events
The Community Crisis Response Team is a resource that helps mitigate acute or chronic traumatic responses to critical incidents.
Critical incidents are impactful, often stressful, events which have the potential to overwhelm one's usual coping mechanisms and have significant emotional power that is strong enough to produce unusual or distressing reactions. A Critical Incident is not defined by the incident itself; it is defined by individuals and/or an organization’s reaction to what occurred.
The Community Crisis Response Team is dedicated to supporting Routt County community members who have been exposed to a recent acute incident that may have the potential to cause various forms of short- or long-term emotional trauma.
Post Incident Words, Resources and What to Expect Debriefing Support On-scene Support
Post Incident Words, How to Help, and What to Expect
Taking care of others who may have experienced or witnessed a critical incident
- Ask simple, yes/no questions or just provide direct comfort (hand them a cup of water and a plate of food rather than ask them if they want water, etc…)
- Saying "I am so sorry for what happened" is okay but know you cannot fix anything and allowing them to sit in silence while you are present can be very helpful.
- Protect them from the media, onlookers, insensitive colleagues/associates/acquaintances.
- Meet his or her immediate physical needs and provide practical help. For example, offer to walk with them to get some fresh air, or ask if they need a jacket or blanket.
- Facilitate social support. Provide access to a phone, contact supportive friends and family. Ask who they would like to have them there to support them (neighbors, friends, family, clergy).
- Listen actively and supportively if he or she wishes to talk about the experience. If he or she does not wish to talk, respect his or her decision.
- Offer access to information (if you have accurate information-don’t speculate or make things up to alleviate the stress), including information about the event.
- Try to ground the person. Help him or her to identify specific goals, break tasks down into manageable sub-tasks, encourage a return to routine. At the same time, advise him or her not to undertake too many responsibilities or increase home or work task
- Assist him or her to find sources of help and support such as professional counseling.
Common reactions and what to expect from yourself and others
Normal reactions in the first few hours after the event:
- Reaction is mainly physical and perceptual.
- Related to ‘fight or flight' nervous responses.
Common Types of Reactions
Mild reactions: Persons fixate on what happened, are not aware of their surroundings, gag, have a lump in their throat or a heavy feeling in the stomach,feel like crying.
Intense reactions: Time warps (moves too fast or too slowly); individuals experience hearing distortions or visual disturbances (see in great detail or have tunnel vision); they have tremors or ‘the shakes'.
Allow yourself or others to be overwhelmed by any reactions.
Remember that any reactions are normal.
Do not stay alone or allow someone struggling to stay alone. Ask colleagues, friends or family to stay present.
Drink cold water or put a cold, wet cloth on neck to reset the nervous system.
Normal reactions in the first few days after the event:
- Initially numb with few or overwelming feelings alternating. One can start to feel the impact of the incident as the brain begins to process it.
- Reactions related to higher levels of stress.
Common Types of Reactions
Mild reactions: Brain Fog (not remembering why you went it a room, etc..), heart palpitations, stomach aches, heartburn, changes in bowel function (diarrhea or constipation), muscle aches, difficulty sleeping (very common), decreased sex drive.
Intense reactions: Recurring images or sensory aspects of the event and/or thoughts or images of previous events and traumatic experiences. Individuals may feel numb, disbelief, function on ‘auto-pilot'. They are inattentive, experience memory gaps, lose perspective. They are tense, irritable, feel isolated, feel no one cares or understands, are preoccupied by the event, can be highly sensitive.
Get plenty of sleep and rest.
If able, exercise vigorously. The body has been on high alert during the incident and needs to get rid of stress hormones.
Do not make major decisions. Give time to adjust.
Normal reactions 3-7 days after the event:
- Fewer physical reactions; psychological and emotional reactions continue.
Common Types of Reactions
Mild reactions: Reactions seem abnormal outside the context of the event. Individuals may start to experience negative impacts on their family, friendships and work relationships.
Intense reactions: Individuals may have difficulty sleeping. They may have insomnia, or wake up suddenly; they may experience sexual difficulties. They may use alcohol or drugs to cope.
Individuals may have flashbacks, nightmares, feel a heightened sense of danger. They may have an increased startle response, and feel anger, blame,or guilt. They may isolate themselves, withdraw from social contact, feel alienated from people, avoid things associated with the incident. They may feel fear or anxiety about the future, feel numb, depressed, out of control, fear the event will recur. Family problems and misunderstandings may increase.
Spend time with trusted family members, friends and colleagues.
Tell your story, but only when you want and to whom you want. Wait until the timing feels right for you.
Try not to be critical actions or behavior during the incident. Remember, the brain goes into survival (fight, flight or freeze) mode during the incident..
Resume a routine.
Minimize use of alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and other drugs
Practice stress management and relaxation techniques.
Take your time. Recovery is a gradual process.
How long will symptoms last? When should someone seek help?
Symptoms will be evident immediately after a critical event. They will diminish within days or weeks. Most people do not require 'psychological treatment. They work through their reactions by following their usual routines, supported by family and friends.
If symptoms persist for more than a month, it may indicate a stress reaction that could lead to a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In such cases, it is important to consult a mental health professional (you can find local, Routt County therapists at www.steamboatcounsling.com). You should seek help if:
- You feel that you cannot handle your intense feelings or physical sensations.
- The effects which followed the incident are getting worse not better.
- You continue to experience distressing thoughts, or physical or emotional symptoms.
- You continue to have nightmares or your sleep continues to be affected.
- You are using increased amounts of alcohol or drugs.
- Your responses are hurting your relationships with other people.
- Taking care of yourself after a critical incident
Expect the incident to bother you.
- Expect to feel guilty: be gentle with yourself.
- Remind yourself that your reactions are normal.
- Learn as much as possible about acute stress reaction.
- Get plenty of sleep and rest
- Spend time with trusted family members, friends and colleagues. Talk with them about the event. Talk about your immediate reactions as the incident was unfolding, particularly your thoughts and feelings.
- As much as possible, try to follow your routines and eat a balanced diet.
- Practice stress management and relaxation techniques, do physical activities, play music, read..
- Attend group debriefings and informational update meetings unless these deeply disturb you.
- Minimize use of alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, other drugs, and sugar.
- Contact a mental health professional if you are feeling acutely impacted by the event.
CCRT Debriefing Services
CCRT debriefing program includes post-incident support, including education and diffusion of emotional reactions and structured debriefing the event. Debriefings are guided by research-based CISD (Critical Incident Stress Debriefing) modles and adjusted to fit the needs of those seeking support. The form of CISD utilized should depend upon how early the intervention is activated, the nature of the incident and who the audience of the debriefing will be.
What is a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing?
- A structured group process usually conducted 24-72 hours after a critical incident.
- An opportunity to process an impactful event with individuals who were also impacted by the event.
- A proven method of immediate mental and emotional support that helps with the processing of a critical event and reduces the incidence of PTSD around the event.
- An opportunity to increase awareness on what to expect and look for in themselves, family members, friends or co-workers in the days or weeks following the event. Take-home educational materials will also be available to provide additional information.
- CISD does not constitute any form of psychotherapy and it should never be utilized as a substitute for long-term psychotherapy.
Any time it has been determined that a critical incident has occurred and intervention may be needed, a CCRT debrief can be requested.
Incidents that prompt a debrief can include but are not limited to:
- Serious line of duty or place of employment injury or death
- Multi-casualty incident
- Significant events involving (child)ren within community
- Witnessing traumatic death or injury
- Recovery of body after pronged search/missing person
- High profile death
- Unattended death
The request can be made either directly to the CCRT coordinator through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24 hour phone line (970)546-0802 and press #2
This is a service provided by CCRT that allows first responders in Routt County to dispatch an on-call member to respond to a critical incident to immediately provide on-scene support. Requests for response will be initiated by first responders who are on-scene.