ICISF Events & Partner Events

News & Announcements

CISM Response for Civilians - The Columbia Mall Shooting

By Steve Stone

Chief Chaplain, HCDFRS Chaplain Corps
Chief Chaplain, HCVFA
CISM Program Administrator, HCDFRS


On Saturday, January 20, 2014, the Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services (Howard County, MD) CISM Team responded to an active shooter incident at The Mall in Columbia, in downtown Columbia, MD. Members of the department’s CISM Team deployed following a shooting inside the mall that left three dead, including the gunman. CISM Program Administrator Chief Chaplain Steve Stone directed the efforts of the CISM Team response and dedicated team members into two areas, covering different populations. One team addressed the needs of shoppers and merchants who were inside the mall during the shooting and who had been evacuated under heavy tactical police escort. This group was transported by bus to a safe holding area at the AMC Movie Theater on the mall property. The second team was on stand-by for first responders near the multi-agency, multi-jurisdiction Fire & Rescue/Law Enforcement command post. Additionally, the second team stood by to assist family members during death notification by law enforcement personnel.

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The teams were deployed and on stand-by for approximately 6 hours and provided interventions to an estimated 50+ people (all non-first responders). The team response was made up of Fire & Rescue Peer Counselors, members of the fire department Chaplain Corps and personnel from the ICISF.

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This response represents the third recent “Active Shooter” response by the HCDFRS CISM Team, which includes responses to the Washington Navy Yard Active Shooter in September 2013, and an October 2013 shooting in Howard County in which a county ambulance was hit by gunfire from a suspect involved in a shootout with county police.


Canadian Critical Incident Stress Foundation 2014 Conference



We are pleased to announce that the Critical Incident Stress Foundation will be hosting the 2014 Canadian Critical Incident Stress Conference April 24th to the 26th at the Sheraton on the falls  in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  This must attend event boasts a line up of diverse speakers addressing key challenges with innovative thinking, new perspectives and real life stories. We are also excited to announce we will be offering approved ICISF training in Individual, Group, & Advanced Crisis Intervention along with Suicide Awareness April 22nd - 23rd, 2014.   This conference will unite hundreds of people from across Canada and internationally with a common interest in the field of CISM.

The CCISF is further pleased to announce that the International Critical Incident Responder Network (ICIRN) biennial Conference will also be held April 22nd and 23rd during this unforgettable week long event .
Training Being Offered
·         Individual Crisis Intervention
·         Group Crisis Intervention
·         Advanced Crisis Intervention
·         1 Day Suicide Awareness
·         1 Day CISD refresher
·         4 day Approved Instructor Group Crisis Intervention
Who should attend?
Attendance is multi-disciplinary, with participants representing the fields of emergency services, peer CISM programs, public safety, mental health, school administration & counselling, medical, military, clergy, security, business and industry, among others.


A Resource for Online Degree Programs

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 8.41.20 AMAs many professionals attempt to balance the need or desire to further their education with the ever-growing demands of working full-time in their fields, online education or "distance learning" is an attractive option. It allows students to work from home or office, on their schedules and at their convenience. But with new online programs appearing every day, identifying the right program can be an almost overwhelming task.

It therefore gives the staff of ICISF great pleasure to support AccreditedOnlineColleges.org in their mission to offer, free of charge, a comprehensive database of every online program offered by an accredited educational institutions across a wide range of degree programs.

Elizabeth Turner, contributing writer for the project, says, "With the rise of the Internet, online education has become a more integral part of our higher education system. Many prominent colleges and universities throughout the nation now offer online course options as an element of their curriculum. It is encouraging to see the educational system advancing so quickly, but unfortunately, when students try to research these opportunities, information is fragmented and not easily accessible. Because of this, my team and I have worked to fully research, catalogue, and publish a comprehensive database of every online program offered by an accredited educational institutions across a wide range of degree programs."

AccreditedOnlineColleges.org is sponsored by 185 online colleges, and features both a "Quick Search" by degree level, category and subject, and full search which allows the user to find schools by state, campus setting, degree level, public / private status and school size. The Quick Search identifies a single, sponsored school, and invites the user to contact the school for more information, but there is no obligation to submit contact information in order to use the database via the full search.

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In addition to compiling information about programs across the board, Turner and her team have placed special emphasis on some programs, particularly nursing. Their nursing education resource offers in-depth information on "every nursing program and their specific accreditations from colleges and universities throughout the United States."

"Providing transparency into accreditation provides a student with the assurance that the program selected meets standards required for licensing. For a nurse this is critical in terms of securing a job, as prospective employers evaluate candidates on their education credentials knowing that it is an indication of their knowledge and competency," says Turner.

AccreditedOnlineColleges.org has been recommended as well by California State University, Drake State Technical College, the National Association of Pediatric Nurses, and the Ohio Public Health Association.


ICISF Offices Closed

(January 22, 2014) Due to yesterday's snowstorm in Maryland, ICISF offices Are open but with limited staff. We regret any inconvenience caused by this decision. Please check this site tomorrow for updates. 


Changes at ICISF

Rick Barton, CEO of ICISF, Inc, has asked to share the following message with all ICISF members and friends:

I want to make you aware of a change in the organization that shall occur effective January 1, 2014.  Effective that day, Don Howell will move from the position of Executive Director to serve as a part time contractor providing project management services.  Don will help me ensure that we identify and manage the daily and long term activities that are vital to the best operation of the ICISF. Eventually his role will become more of a project management function, helping us facilitate new and existing contacts and many other tasks.   

During their November meeting, the Board of Directors asked me to stay on board as CEO and help lead the ICISF into the future. I proudly accepted their offer, and look forward to working closely with each of you.  I understand that there have been significant staffing changes since August, and a considerable loss of experience. That illustrates the importance of Don's role in 2014. There are great benefits in change, especially if they are carried out with the wisdom of historical perspective. Great challenges lie ahead. Your continued dedication, determination, and good service makes all the difference.  

Please join me in congratulating Don as he moves into a new role, and show our appreciation for his tireless devotion to the mission of the ICISF and CISM.  We can only imagine how many lives he has touched, directly and indirectly, by making a positive difference in the way critical incident stress is viewed and managed. I want to personally thank Don for his support and assistance to me during the past three months as I became oriented to the organization and the opportunities that offer value.  

Don has included a personal message below to each of you expressing his thoughts during this time of change.



I have been honored to be part of the CISM movement from its inception in the early 80’s, through the formation of ACISF/ICISF in the early 90’s, and as an employee of ICISF since March, 1997.

I had the distinct privilege of meeting many extraordinary individuals, who in many instances placed there on life on the line or made someone’s crisis their own mission to assist. I’ve had the opportunity to travel throughout the United States and several other countries on behalf of ICISF.

I feel that the ICISF family, which includes each and every one of you, continues to make a difference in the lives of so many individuals every day, and for that alone I’m proud to be associated with you.

However, there comes a time when one recognizes that the energy level may not be the same as it once was and fresh ideas may not come to mind as easily as they once did. I view much of life, and especially my time with ICISF, as a relay race. I feel that during my own segment of the race, I gave it my best and am satisfied with what I accomplished. But the time has come to pass the ‘baton’ onto the next runner, as cleanly as possible, and know that they to shall have the energy to take on the next leg in yet a new and exciting direction.

As Rick Barton, CEO, has identified, I shall function for a period of time in a different capacity, a coach if you will, to give the ‘players’ suggestions and to also impart some wisdom from time to time.

I ask only that whatever your mission and involvement with CISM and ICISF is, “Remember it is not about what benefits you, but what benefits the individual at the very end of the line, in their time of need.”

And you know, it just doesn’t get much better than that.

Don - 12/2/13

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