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Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team PDF Print E-mail

LFEMS CISM Guidelines and Protocols v2013

Critical Incident Stress Management Team Application

CISM Frequently Asked Questions

Activate the CISM Team by calling (540) 665-5645 twenty-four hours a day seven days a week.


Sixteen state recognized Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Teams provide critical support to Virginia’s EMS community.

The teams work with individuals or groups of emergency medical services and fire and police personnel who may suffer from stress after being involved in a critical incident. Team members provide pre-incident education and post-incident defusing, demobilization and debriefing.

Examples of critical incidents are:

  • Suicides
  • Injury or death of an emergency worker
  • Prolonged events
  • Injury or death of children
  • Mass casualty incidents
  • Threats to emergency worker’s safety
  • Natural disasters

The constant intake of stress or encountering a highly stressful event can cause the emergency service professional to suffer stress reaction symptoms. These symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • GI upsets
  • Memory loss
  • Concentration problems
  • Problem solving difficulties
  • Anxiety
  • Fears
  • Depression
  • Identification with the victims
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Fear of repetition of the stressful event
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in eating and work habits
  • Unusual actions or behaviors

A debriefing should be requested if stress symptoms continue beyond the first 48-72 hours of the incident. Overwhelming stress symptoms usually occur in the first 24-48 hours following a critical incident. If you or your agency is in need of CISM Team assistance, please contact the Lord Fairfax EMS Council's team by calling Frederick County Dispatch at (540) 665-5645. The Volunteer Coordinator on call will then be contacted. CISM brochures are also available at our office.

CISM Training: The ICISF: Individual Crisis Intervention and Peer Support certification class is the foundation for all other CISM training. It is designed with the first responder in mind. You do not need to have prior training. This is the minimum training required to be an active member of the Lord Fairfax EMS Council's CISM team. For the current schedule of classes in Virginia, click here.