Crisis Intervention

Crisis intervention refers to the methods used to offer immediate, short-term help to individuals who experience an event that produces emotional, mental, physical, and behavioral distress or problems.

The Components of Crisis Intervention

The CISM package includes integrated, multi-component crisis intervention strategies useful in the aftermath of a traumatic event. The type of intervention used depends on the situation, the number of people involved, and their proximity to the event. The goal of the intervention is to address the trauma.


The Crisis Management Briefing

A Crisis Management Briefing (CMB) is one of the most highly utilized and versatile crisis intervention techniques. A CMB is a structured group meeting designed to provide information about the event. A CMB is an opportunity for managers to demonstrate a sense of leadership, reduce chaos, enhance credibility, and control rumors. A CMB is an information "push" provided for 15 to 20 people to over 200 or more. The CMB is commonly referred to as a "town hall meeting" due to its venue, structure, and format.

Critical Incident Peer Support Groups use CMB's to share education about typical stress reactions and provide information about essential stress management and coping techniques and resources. A CMB is an avenue to generate cohesion, re-gain a sense of camaraderie, and re-establish a sense of community.

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing

The Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) is a specific technique designed to assist others in dealing with the physical or psychological symptoms that are generally associated with trauma exposure. Most approaches to CISD incorporate one or more aspects of the seven- part model in the CISD design. The CISD alone is generally not the only crisis intervention technique used. Participation in CISD is voluntary, and attendance should never be mandatory.

CISD is perhaps the most misunderstood and overused term in the Critical Incident Stress Management program. The term “debriefing” is often used as a “catch-all” for a variety of crisis intervention protocols that are substantially different than the CISD application and structure. Of most significance, CISD is intended for small groups and was never designed for primary victims or in a one-on-one setting. Not everyone involved in a critical incident requires a debriefing.

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The SAFER Model

The CISM SAFER model is a very robust intervention technique. Through this model, the interventionist can provide specific help to those in need on an individual basis. While referring someone who needs additional assistance is one outcome of the SAFER model, it is also possible that the person in need can move forward with assistance from the crisis intervention itself. Read More


Strategic Response to Crisis

Because psychological intervention is based on recognition of need, not strictly the occurrence of an event, it is crucial to get advice on what post-incident support would be appropriate as soon as possible. One of the challenges is intervening only where and when needed using the most appropriate intervention for the situation. It is vital to work with a qualified CISM Coordinator who is trained and experienced in strategic response to crisis.

A strategic response to crisis consultation offers unique expertise making a valuable contribution in its own right. Leaders often find consultation about the expected human response, phase of recovery, time of recovery, identification of high-risk groups, and leadership stress to be helpful.

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Pre-Incident Education

The most important element of combating critical incident stress is pre-incident stress education. The process should be started early in a career and continued with annual refresher courses.

Reactions to critical incidents are expected. There is no way to determine how individuals will be affected. Each one processes trauma differently. However, developing healthy coping skills and learning to be resilient may help you during times of high stress. Resilience is the ability to adapt well to stress, adversity, trauma, or tragedy. Read More

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Individual Care

Crisis intervention with individuals, one at a time, is an essential element in the CISM approach. This form of crisis intervention is the most widely used of all crisis intervention tactics and can be done in many different forms.





Referral and Follow-Up Care

Referral and follow-Up subsequent to the initial crisis intervention facilitating access to the next level of formalized medical and psychological care is an absolutely essential aspect of CISM.

This does not imply, however, that CIPS Groups should make "repeated" or "follow up visits" after the initial intervention was done. That's outside the scope of their training. Follow-up ensures that those individuals who require more intense intervention than acute psychological support are referred to a higher level of care.

The Importance of Vetting Mental Health Professionals


One of our main efforts, and challenges is ensuring that every firefighter is referred to a qualified Mental Health Professional who understands the culture of the job.

Additional Information

International Critical Incident Stress Foundation

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Defense Center of Excellence

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Share the Load

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Geograhpic Area CISM Information

Follow Us on Wildland Fire and Aviation Critical Incident Stress Peer Support!!!!

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Employee Assistance Programs

Other Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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National Helpline


Free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service.

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Veterans Crisis Line

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Disaster Distress Lifeline

disaster Crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

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Bureau of Indian Affairs
Branch of Wildland Fire Management

3833 South Development Avenue t malesuada Boise, ID 83705

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