Presentation Details: This presentation will outline the development of a Critical Incident (CI) alert and real time CISM team response system currently in operation within Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB). The presentation will give background information on the structure and history of DFB and will also outline some of the milestones of the evolution of CISM within this organisation. The need for an alert system was established following a review of the DFB CISM team operation and protocols in 2015 and it was found that the CISM team were not being notified for some traumatic/critical incidents which personnel were attending and may have required a subsequent intervention. It was also found that some call centre personnel and paramedic crews were also falling through the cracks when it came to checking on their welfare after certain CI’s. Finally it was found that two groups namely some control centre call takers and ambulance paramedics operating outside their stations areas were not receiving sufficient attention from Officers and/or the CISM team after they had been dealing with traumatic incidents. An alert system was set up to enable call takers and despatchers alert the CISM team when they received calls for incidents which could be considered traumatic or critical in nature. The system allows for the “tagging” of a CISM team response at the same time as the emergency call taker is despatching resources , be they Fire, Ambulance or both, to deal with the incident in hand. For example a traumatic incident like a hanging involving a young person would have a Fire truck and an ambulance despatched to deal with same and a text would be sent to the CISM team phones to alert the team about the incident. The immediate alerting of the CISM team as resources are been mobilised to the incident, enable a CISM team member or members respond in time to be in a position to contact crews on their return to station following the incident. They can then check on the welfare of the crews and offer any assistance or interventions they require. This aspect of the alert system has received incredibly positive feedback from crews on the ground and even when assistance is not required, crews have appreciated that someone is looking out for them and offering to help. Officers have also said that the call on return to station serves as a reminder for them to check crew welfare, especially for ambulance crews who may be attending incidents that the officer is not attending or aware. Officers have also expressed the opinion that the CISM team check in calls give them the confidence to check on crew welfare as they feel they have good support from the CISM team should help be required. In relation to the Control Centre, call takers and despatchers have noticed an increased interaction with the CISM team in relation to Crisis interventions and also appreciate the welfare check up calls immediately after they have taken a traumatic call. Follow up reports and inclusion in group interventions has also being a positive outcome for control centre personnel in relation to the alert system. Finally the presentation will outline the use of an instant messaging app for the alerting the CISM team about an activation of the text alert system and for informing team who is looking after the alert and if they require help or assistance with the response. It is also advantageous for CISM team members to be aware of CISM alerts as they happen in that if they are approached by colleagues for a one to one intervention in relation to an incident shortly after it has happened, they are at the very least aware of the incident. Having awareness of the incident if you are contacted in relation to it can help to instil confidence in you as a peer supporter to the person seeking your help and help you build up a rapport with that person. When myself and Adrian O’Grady attended and presented at the ICISF World Congress in 2019 we spoke the fellow delegates about our alert system, and it seemed to generate a lot of interest. I feel this virtual event will be a unique opportunity for DFB to outline further to delegates an alert system we have found to be very efficient and also to maintain the strong links we have built up with the ICISF over the years. I thank you for taking the time to read this presentation proposal and hope it meets requirements and approval.
Upon completion, participants will be able to
Have a better understanding of the need for CISM teams to quickly assess the need to provide personnel in frontline emergency service organisations CISM support following a critcal incident.
Describe how a real time CISM alert system can function in a frontline emergency service organisation.
Decribe the benefits of introducing a real time alert system within a frontline emergency service organisaation.