Helping Save the Heroes

LifeNetLogoAsk someone to identify a hero, the sort of person who risks his or her well-being to help someone in trouble. They will name people who reach deep into their souls to gather the resolve to deal with fires or medical emergencies, serve in the military, or fight crime. These are examples, and certainly not a complete list. The true question is not, “Who qualifies as a hero?” We must ask who saves the heroes from the consequences of the risks they suffer.

At the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF), our mission guides us to help save the heroes from their personal internal struggle. We are not alone in this quest, thus we help save the heroes. This single phrase offers the value of our work; and now we must step up our effort. The ICISF struggled to survive the aftermath of the economic recession of 2008. Many other educational foundations and non-profit organizations withered away. The survival of the ICISF set the stage for specific, positive changes offered in the following paragraphs. Keep reading if you want to know the near and multi-year plans for the ICISF.

This article is available in its entirety in the latest issue of LifeNet. The ICISF’s LifeNet newsletter is an exclusive benefit of ICISF membership. For more information, please visit our Member page.

A Time to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is the time of year that we sit back and reflect on everything we have to be thankful for. Very importantly, we are thankful for you! THANK YOU for everything that you do in your professional lives, and then so much more in giving back to others through your training and expertise in the field of Critical Incident Stress Management. At the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, we recognize and applaud your sacrifices to help others. From our first responders, to airline pilots, our educators, and everyone else that we serve, the ravages of critical incident stress knows no boundaries and you are truly “Helping Save the Heroes!”

We strive to bring high quality training to all corners of the globe every year and as we continue our outreach, we need YOUR help. Every two years the ICISF hosts the World Congress on Stress, Trauma and Coping. The upcoming 13th World Congress will take place in Baltimore on May 11-16, 2015 where we will be connecting the crisis response community. Please help us spread the word by telling your friends and colleagues about the 13th World Congress with more opportunities to engage, learn and share in an environment where solutions are evolving to deal with the on-going challenges facing crisis interventionists.

We are also very excited about our new “Supporter” program as well. This program will assist us in expanding the training programs and services provided by the ICISF. For a minimum donation of only $25, your name will be printed in the 13th World Congress program, recognizing you as a “Supporter,” or you can honor someone else and have a name placed in the program “In Honor Of.” In addition, all “Supporters” and “In Honor Of” names will also scroll across the monitors at the 13th World Congress.

To make your donation and become an official “Supporter” of the ICISF, please click here:


Thoughts on CISM from a Long Time Instructor

By Bruce Ramsay-CTR, TFT,-Adv., Certified Traumatologist , Long Time ICISF Approved Instructor

I was introduced to Critical Incident Stress Management when I attended a training in Alberta, Canada that was taught by Dr. Jeffrey Mitchell. This was in 1988. At the time I was a Captain in the training division of my fire department-District of North Vancouver, BC Canada. I thought it might be interesting as I had always had an interest in psychology. It was far more than interesting. I sat with my mouth open for two days as Dr. Mitchell explained normal response to trauma. I had no idea I was a trauma survivor. I had witnessed the death of nine former co-workers when I attended a fire at a grain elevator where I had worked for several years right out of high school. I did know that my life was a wreck at the time. I had suffered depression and suicidal ideation for years and simply thought I was “losing it”-more accurately that I had “lost it”. I spoke with Dr. Mitchell after the training and I told him that. He assured me I was acting normally but was kind enough to spend time with me and to ask about symptoms. In that discussion I confessed that I was in fact suicidal. Through his intervention, caring and support, I slowly began to realize that I was in fact normal but had been highly traumatized in my fire department career which at that time spanned just over nine years. CISM and particularly the kindness of Dr. Mitchell saved my life and started me on treatment and recovery.

This article is available in its entirety in the latest issue of LifeNet. The ICISF’s LifeNet newsletter is an exclusive benefit of ICISF membership. For more information, please visit our Member page.

LifeNet Volume 25 Issue 3 is Now Available!

LifeNetLogoThe third issue of the 2014 series of LifeNet, the ICISF newsletter, is now available to members here on the ICISF website.

LifeNet is an exclusive benefit to members of ICISF. To access this latest issue, you will need the login provided to members by ICISF in the recent LifeNet publication announcement email. To log in, go to the Resources tab, then go to Membersip and click on “LOGIN.”  Once logged in, click on the LifeNet button under the Login button.

If you are a member and need assistance accessing LifeNet, or would like a printed copy mailed to you, please contact Michelle Parks at or by phone at (410) 750-960z0.

Announcing Online Member Registration


Photo by Ariel da Silva Parreira

ICISF is pleased to announce the go-live of online membership registration and renewal via our website. Powered by SubscriptionDNA, our new database engine provides each member with a unique website login, and introduces the following features:

  • Self service password changes - once your account is established, you can change your own password at any time. If you have forgotten your password, you can use the…
  • Forgot password link – we all have too many passwords to keep track of these days. If you forget your ICISF member password, don’t worry, our system will send it to the member email address on file.
  • Personal info updates - at any time, members will be able to change their listed address, phone numbers, email address, job title or company affiliation, as well as payment information.
  • Secure online payment – with a credit card, and you can store card information to allow for…
  • Auto-renewal with credit card – all transactions will be processed using Your credit card information will be encrypted and protected. No ICISF staff will have access to your credit information.
  • Self-service new member signup - paper membership forms, stamps and envelopes are a thing of the past. If you want to become an ICISF member, all you have to do is visit our website and sign up! Note: If you have been a member in the past, but your membership has lapsed, you will need to register as a new member. As a cost-saving measure, we didn’t import inactive memberships into our new database.
  • Access to exclusive member content – including LifeNet and a developing library of CISM-related articles.

Continue reading “Announcing Online Member Registration” »