Since January 01, 2007, the BCSARA Critical Incident Stress Management Program provides support to SAR volunteers through education and awareness and by means of interventions when exposure to traumatic events during a callout may result in Critical Incident Stress and where an opportunity to talk about things is helpful. This peer-based program currently has 24 SAR members from around the province who are trained in the various interventions that are proven effective in helping people deal with stressful SAR callouts.
This past weekend, 14 CISM peers met in Comox for a weekend of training. Last year at SARScene, 8 new members were recruited and trained. After a year of probation participating in various interventions and providing education and awareness sessions, new members who met the requirements were brought on board as active team members. While the weekend included reviewing group and one-on-one intervention principles and techniques, the bulk of the training was spent practicing in one-on-one, small group and larger group scenarios. As these team members live around the province, these training sessions usually only happen once a year, and are invaluable in developing skills, building relationships and team building.
The team also utilizes monthly conference calls to take care of the business of the group, but this weekend was also the time when team members participated in making program decisions for the next year at our AGM.
To activate the CISM team, any SAR volunteer or anyone concerned about a SAR volunteer can call the ECC at 1-800-663-3456 and ask for the CISM Program to be activated. ECC will ask you for a contact name and phone number and a CISM Program dispatcher will call you back to get details and initiate a peer response. Anyone interested in more information about the team or would like to request an Education and Awareness session for their team members and spouses can contact Whitney at firstname.lastname@example.org.