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CISM is an opportunity for emergency workers to deal with particularly bad events in a healthy way. Emergency workers who have been specially trained provide all services, such as Fire, EMS, Police, Nursing, Mental Health Clinicians and/or Clergy members.

A critical incident is any event that has a stressful impact sufficient to overwhelm the usually effective coping skills of either an individual or a group. Critical incidents are typically sudden, powerful events outside the range of ordinary human experiences that affects emergency workers and the general public. Some examples are death or serious injury to a child, a fellow emergency worker, a suicide, an accident victim or circumstances involving prolonged or extraordinary rescue or recovery operations.

CISM may be in the form of one-on-one interventions, small group meetings or large group meetings.

Training is offered regularly throughout the year on various topics related to the stress of emergency response. Most CISM training is interactive, with audio - visual aids, role plays and includes lunch. The most recent training, titled "Group Crisis Intervention," was completed in Mayville, NY on May 11 and 12, 2013. One of the goals of this training was to familiarize participants with crisis interventions, relevant practices, and research.

Our instructor was Michelle Eaton, Education Specialist from EMMCO West (Emergency Management Medical Co-Op). Michelle is also a CISM Team Coordinator for seven counties of Northwestern Pennsylvania. She is also a Paramedic for Emergycare Operations in Erie and Warren County. Twenty of 25 members participated.

Chautauqua County Emergency Services sponsors training that is offered to CISM Team Members and other emergency services personnel. Most CISM training is interactive, with audio - visual aids, role plays and includes lunch.