About RI Critical Incident Stress Management Team

About Our Team

The Rhode Island Critical Incident Stress Management TEAM is a nonprofit organization (501-c-3) comprised of highly trained members. Peers from fire service, EMS, law enforcement, nursing, and dispatchers are represented on the team.

Our TEAM clinicians and clergy members are chosen due to their credibility and involvement in uniformed services organizations. All interventions are protocol-driven and follow the standard of care for peer support and crisis intervention. We are registered with the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) which provides us with a wide system of mutual aid and training opportunities.

Long Term Consequences

The long term consequences of unresolved critical stress include
  • Difficulties with work performance, personal identity, family relationships and social life.
  • Lead to increased susceptibility to poor health.

The Rhode Island CISM TEAM Mission

Critical incident stress is the body’s normal reaction to a very abnormal event.

Stress is an expected part of life as well as the uniformed services professions. However, an overload of stress can be disruptive and can lead to the use of maladaptive coping behaviors. Critical incident stress can produce reactions that may interfere with or overwhelm a responder’s ability to function or cope either at the scene or later.

Critical Incident Stress is the result of exposure to trauma, an occupational hazard of uniformed services personnel.  This trauma exposure may be a single event, cumulative events, or chronic exposures. The RI CISM TEAM provides peer support and crisis intervention with social support for affected individuals or groups.

The mission of Rhode Island CISM is to “support and assist responders to keep them performing their specific task.” CISM is an integral aspect of first responder wellness programs.

Top 10 Triggers

  1. Serious Injury/death in the line of duty
  2. Suicide of a colleague
  3. Death / Serious injury of a child
  4. Prolonged unsuccessful rescue
  5. Mass casualty Incident (MCI)
  6. Victim known to the responder
  7. Personal safety unusually jeopardized
  8. Terrorism/Excessive media coverage
  9. Incident with particularly gruesome injuries or death
  10. Any significant event capable of causing considerable emotional distress to those who are exposed to it

The Rhode Island CISM TEAM History

In 1987, the literature in fire service, EMS, and law enforcement exposed the need for dealing with the occupational hazard of critical incidents in the public safety workplace. These discussions resulted in a concept of peers providing support for one another. Training through the American Critical Incident Stress Foundation (Now the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation) provided RI responders with the training and direction to address this concern. 

In 1991 the group incorporated and formed the Rhode Island CISM TEAM, Inc. A team protocol was developed to assist in the provision of excellence in member training and quality of support for uniformed services responders who joined this group as team members.

The Rhode Island CISM TEAM remains active in the provision of first responder peer support and crisis intervention.