CRITICAL INCIDENT STRESS INFORMATION
FOR SIGNIFICANT OTHERS
Your loved one has been involved in an emotionally-charged event often referred to as a critical incident. He or she may be experiencing normal stress responses to such and event. (critical incident stress) Critical incident stress affects up to 87% of all emergency personnel exposed to a critical incident. Nobody in an emergency situation is immune to critical incident stress regardless of past experiences or years of service. Your loved one may experience critical incident stress at any time during his or her career.
Important things to remember about critical incident stress:
The signs of critical incident stress are physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral. This information is available elsewhere on this website and can be printed out for your convenience.
Critical incident stress response can occur right after the incident, hours or days later and sometimes weeks later.
Your loved one may experience a variety of signs/symptoms of a stress response… or, in some instances, no response at all.
Suffering from the effects of witnessing a critical incident is completely normal. Your loved one is not likely the only one suffering; other controllers from the facility who were closely related to the event may also be having reactions.
The symptoms will normally subside and disappear in time. It’s important to not dwell on the event and make an effort to normalize life again.
All phases of our lives overlap wnd influence each other: personal, professional, family, etc. The impact of a critical incident can be intensified, influenced or mitigated by what’s going on in a person’s life at that time.
You may not totally understand what your loved one is going through in the time following the critical incident. Do not be afraid to offer love and support. This often takes the simple form of listening as well as taking care of his/her basic needs like nutrition and hydration. Support a return to a normal routine as soon as possible.
If symptoms continue to persist after a few weeks, further help may be needed. The NATCA CISM Team can help find you that support.