What is Critical Incident
A critical incident is defined by the National Code [under Standard 6] as ‘a traumatic event, or the threat of an event [within or outside Australia], which causes extreme stress, fear or injury’.
> Critical incidents may include, but are not limited to:
- serious injury, illness, or death of a staff member;
- staff members lost or injured during fieldwork experiences;
- a missing staff member;
- severe verbal or psychological aggression;
- physical assault;
- staff members witnessing a serious accident or incidence of violence;
- natural disaster e.g. epidemic, earthquake, flood, windstorm, hailstorm, or extremes of temperature;
- traumatic incident within an international staff member’s home country, such as a political coup,
- religious persecution, natural disaster;
- fire, bomb-threat, explosion, gas or chemical hazard; or
- social issues e.g. sexual assault, drug use, alcohol abuse, internet abuse.
Critical incidents may trigger a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms, including increased heart rate, high blood pressure and anxiety. The initial action of Corpsychcare is to calm staff members following a critical incident and to ensure that their immediate needs are met. A member of staff, who was not involved in the incident, or affected by it, is responsible for this initial action.
> Strategies to help manage the critical incident include:
- Contact emergency services if necessary
- Convene a meeting for those involved as soon as possible.
- Summarise the incident and clarify uncertainties.
- Invite questions and discuss issues of concern.
- Show care and support.
- Draw up a plan of action, taking into account the needs of the staff.
- Make short-term arrangements for work responsibilities.
- Offer information on defusing and debriefing.
In all Critical incidents a critical incident form must be completed and given to management.
To see how the Critical Incident Trauma Response can be added to your EAP Service Agreement, please contact us today.