Critical Incident Debriefing
Critical Incident Debriefing is a phasic intervention
implemented immediately following a major incident
such as war zone trauma, civilian disaster, terrorist
incident or natural disaster. The aim of immediate
implementation of CID after such an event is to
specifically prevent, limit or alleviate the onset
of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following exposure to such an incident.
staff, or, victim really believes that his or her
life is in danger at the time of the attack.
CID is not limited to HM Forces or the Emergency
Services just as PTSD is not suffered exclusively
can be a victim of violent crime and without
specialist help could experience PTSD at a
in all night filling stations, off licences sub
post offices and late night stores are particularly
vulnerable. Employees are frequently being threatened
and attacked with guns knives and machetes.
is sufficient to warrant help by a qualified De-Briefer
otherwise the long-term consequences could be quite
Debriefing or Critical Incident Debriefing (the
terms are used interchangeably) is ideally carried
out two to three days after an incident, but within
one month. Anecdotal evidence suggests however that
a debrief such as this can be beneficial even many
years after an event.
intention is to allow people the opportunity
to talk, express their feelings, discuss any
concerns arising from the incident and most
essentially to prevent them from bottling up their
feelings and emotions.
is when this bottling up of feelings
happens that psychological distress becomes a concern.
The debriefing process could be described as: "a
group meeting to review the impressions and reactions
that survivors, bereaved or helpers experience during
or following critical incidents, accidents or disasters.
The meeting aims at reducing unnecessary psychological
after-effects. Debriefing can also be successfully
used on individuals.
debriefer needs to be properly trained and experienced.
In general, cost prevents most organisations from
maintaining their own teams so these are generally
sourced through outside agencies.