ICISF Events & Partner Events

Article of the Week: 05/07/12

Botswana Police Rep Scoops Gender Summit Award (5/4/12 - South Africa)

Senior Superintendent Thatatsotlhe Nwokoro of the Botswana Police Service (BPS) was awarded at the Gender Justice and Local Government Summit in Johannesberg for her presentation on gender-based violence. The presentation covered how to deal with GBV at both personal and professional levels, and described BPS's efforts to deal with GBV incidents.

In terms of support at professional level, Nwokoro stated that BPS has come up with Critical Stress Debriefing, which debriefs police officers when they attend to horrific incidents that leave them severely traumatised. She said the programme offers coping mechanisms for post-traumatic stress disorder.

"The expectation is that police officers have to attend to cases irrespective of fears, challenges and anxieties," she said.Violent GBV incidents traumatise police officers, she added, explaining that psychological trauma is not measurable because some of the signs may be a sudden abuse of alcohol or excessive smoking.

"Traumatic incidents have significant power to overwhelm normal coping capacity," she said. She said the programme is achieving remarkable results, noting that the demand for Critical Debriefing Services has increased, with 65 debriefing sessions having been held in 2011.


Articles of the Week: 4/30/12

Enhancing Growth From Trauma: Workshops by Dr John Durkin (April 2012 - Australia)   

“3rd September – 28th September, 2012 | Perth, Melbourne, Auckland, Sydney, Brisbane and Singapore

About Dr John Durkin

Dr John Durkin is a psychologist specializing in posttraumatic growth and social support. As a result of his experiences of emergencies and disasters from an earlier career as a firefighter in the UK, he was made aware of the effects of stress and trauma and became interested in understanding the processes leading to recovery.

“Workshop One”:

  • The Role of Crisis Intervention in Promoting Posttraumatic Growth

“Workshop Two”:

  • Facilitating Posttraumatic Growth – Techniques, Tools and Tactics



Professor on leave after student drowns (4/24/12 - Guam)
The University of Guam is offering counseling through its campus counseling services to faculty members, students and friends of A.J. Miralles.

  • Critical incident debriefings for students and others who were on the field trip that day will be held today from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Group counseling sessions will be facilitated by licensed mental health professionals and will allow those who shared this traumatic experience to express their thoughts and feelings.
  • Only those individuals who were on the field trip may attend the critical incident debriefings.
  • To seek individual counseling or for more information on the critical incident debriefings, call the University of Guam Isa Psychological Services Center at 735-2883 or email isa@uguam.uog.edu. Isa's hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.--5 p.m.
  • The counseling sessions are separate and apart from witness statements and any information shared in a counseling session remains confidential and will not be forwarded to university administration or anyone leading or associated with the incident review.
  • As the review process proceeds, additional information will be forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead.
    University of Guam

Articles of Interest: 04/23/12

Healing the rescuers
4/22/12 Oklahoma

Garfield County Sheriff Bill Winchester said emergency responders have learned over the years it’s important to have critical incident stress management sessions after a highly traumatic call — a session where those who dealt with the emergency can deal with the emotions they pushed aside during the crisis. “It’s kind of a time for them to stop, take a breath, and say we’re done with this scene and it’s time to move on, but this is what we can expect,” Lillie said. “The debriefing was a couple of days later.” About 90 percent of emergency workers will experience critical-incident stress at some point in their careers, Lillie said. “Out of a single incident, about 30 percent will do fine, about 30 percent will have moderate critical-incident stress, and for about 30 percent, it will be severe,” Lillie said. The stress can manifest itself as sleep disturbances, flashbacks, inability to concentrate, anger, impatience, withdrawal, second-guessing their actions during the incident, agitation, excessive use of alcohol or tobacco, fear the next call will be like that one, and possessiveness toward people they love.The stress is a normal reaction to an abnormal event, Lillie emphasized.“If it’s not treated, it will lead to post-traumatic stress syndrome,” Lillie said.The Northwest Oklahoma Critical Incident Stress Management team brings three peers, a chaplain and a mental health professional together to meet in an incident debriefing with the emergency responders.“We have several stages we go through during the debriefing,” Lillie said. “The first is their initial response to the incident — what they did, what they saw.”


County’s Critical Incident Response Team Celebrates 10 Years of Services to Emergency First Responders 4/13/12 New York

“First responders are often faced with unimaginable circumstances and our trained Critical Incident Response Team helps them deal with the stress that can come with a tragic event.

According to CIRT Team Coordinator Steven Tuttle, Dutchess County’s CIRT is a recognized and registered team with the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation with its members committed to ongoing education and training. Over the past decade, team members have participated in numerous courses focusing on Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) techniques including Peer Support, Suicide Intervention, Line-of-Duty Death, Strategic Response to Crisis, CISM for Families, School Crisis Response and more.


Articles of Interest: 04/16/12

Leader effectiveness in the implementation of CISM leader

….the survey contained numerous positive comments regarding the CIPS Program, which could serve as a model of CISM standardization in organizations that routinely react to critical incidents….

In conclusion, the current CIPS Program meets the basic tenets of CISM methodology and could be used to further the attempts of the Military Police Corps--and the Army in general--to reduce suicide rates within our ranks. However, the Webster University survey of Military Police Corps leadership indicates a need for more effective CISM. Leaders at all levels could surely benefit from additional instruction in developing effective peer support programs related to CISM

“In the immediate aftermath of a disaster or crisis, therapy takes a backseat to meeting clients’ basic needs and offering a sense of safety and stabilization”


ICISF Releases Three-Year Strategic Plan

planICISF leadership has developed a brief statement of goals and objectives reaching into 2014. This plan includes communication and organizational improvements designed to address organization needs identified both internally and by our customers and stakeholders.  Questions about the plan should be sent to our Executive Director, Donald Howell, via email or by phone at 410-750-9600. Click here to view the plan document.