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CISM - Section III

When emergency personnel experience significant stress from CIS, the following steps may help reduce the stress until the incident is over or until a trained CISM team is located:

  • Limit exposure to sights, sounds, odors,
  • Provide an immediate rest break for 15 minute
  • Have a friend stay with the distressed person
  • Provide fluids, non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated
  • Provide foods low in salt, sugar and fat
  • Allow the person to talk about the experience
  • Do not rush the person to return to work
  • Protect the person from bystanders and MEDIA
  • Reassure the person that the stress experience is normal, most people recover well from stress
  • Show appreciation for the personís work
  • Do nothing to embarrass the person
  • Help the person make decisions

    Within the first 24-48 hrs, periods of strenuous physical exercise, alternated with relaxation will alleviate some of the physical reactions.

  • Structure your time-keep busy
  • You are normal having a normal reaction-do not label yourself as CRAZY
  • Talk to people-talk is the best medicine
  • Be aware of numbing the pain with overuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Reach out-PEOPLE DO CARE
  • Maintain as normal a schedule as possible
  • Spend time with others
  • Help your co-workers as much as possible by sharing your feelings and checking out how they area doing
  • Give yourself permission to feel rotten and share your feelings with others
  • Keep a journal; write your way through those sleepless hours
  • Do things that make you feel good
  • Realize you are under stress
  • Donít make any big life changes
  • Do make as many daily decisions as possible which will give you a feeling of control over your life. i.e. if someone asks you what you want to eat-answer them even if you are not sure
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Recurring thoughts, dreams, flashbacks are normal-donít try to fight them-they will decrease over time and become less painful
  • Eat well balanced and regular meals (even if you donít feel like it)


  • Listen carefully
  • Spend time with the traumatized person
  • Offer your assistance and a listening ear, even if they have not asked for help
  • Reassure them that they are safe
  • Help them with everyday tasks like cleaning, caring for the family, etc.
  • Give them some private time
  • Donít take their anger or other feelings personally
  • Donít tell them that they are ďLUCKY IT WASNíT WORSEĒ-traumatized people are not consoled by those statements. Instead tell them that you are SORRY such an event has occurred and you want to understand and assist them.

    For additional information or inquiries, email njcismteam@aol.com

    Visit the following websites for more CISM information:

    Click here to return to CISM - Section I.

    Click here to rerurn to CISM - Section II.