CISM – Critical Incident Stress Management

CISM Teams can help emergency workers deal with stress.  These teams work with individuals or groups of emergency medical service, fire and police personnel who may suffer from stress after being involved in a critical incident. Team members provide pre-incident education and post-incident defusing, demobilization and debriefing.


Examples of critical incidents are:

  • Suicides
  • Mass casualty incidents
  • Injury or death of an emergency worker
  • Threats to emergency worker’s safety
  • Prolonged events
  • Natural disasters
  • Injury or death of children


The constant intake of stress or encountering a highly stressful event can cause the emergency service professional to suffer stress reaction symptoms. These symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Identification with the victims
  • Nausea
  • Nightmares
  • GI upsets
  • Flashbacks
  • Memory loss
  • Fear of repetition of the stressful event
  • Concentration problems
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Problem-solving difficulties
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in eating and work habits
  • Fear
  • Unusual actions or behaviors
  • Depression

A debriefing should be requested if stress symptoms continue beyond the first 48-72 hours of the incident. Overwhelming stress symptoms usually occur in the first 24-48 hours following a critical incident. If you or your agency is in need of CISM Team assistance, please contact your area’s team.


Click here for a contact list of CISM Teams in the Northern Virginia region  pdf Regional CISM Team Information (28 KB)


Upcoming Training Events

12 Dec 2017
06:00PM - 10:00PM
Consolidated Testing Site
15 Dec 2017
08:00AM - 12:00PM
Consolidated Testing Site
16 Dec 2017
09:00AM - 03:00PM
BLS Ops Area #15
19 Dec 2017
07:00PM - 10:00PM
Consolidated Testing Site
20 Dec 2017
07:00PM - 08:00PM

Regional EMS Meetings

12 Dec 2017
11:00AM - 01:00PM
NOVA Chiefs Meeting
12 Dec 2017
11:00AM - 02:00PM
NVERS Fire Chiefs Committee Meeting
13 Dec 2017
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Winter VHAC Meeting
13 Dec 2017
05:30PM - 06:30PM
Stroke Support Team
14 Dec 2017
08:00AM - 10:00AM
EMS Chiefs Meeting
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