What to do if your organisation experiences a Critical Incident...
1. Phone Counselling Works on 01 908 263 800. (00 44 1908 263 800 from Eire).
Our calls are answered 24 hours a day, most times in our office in Milton Keynes.Out of hours calls are switched to our call centres in North Wales or Nottingham.The phone will be answered promptly and you will not be confronted with a menu of buttons to push.They will immediately contact a senior member of our staff.We will need to know:
- Information about you and your company or organisation.
- What has happened and how many people you think are directly involved.
- How many people witnessed the incident, or might be directly affected by it.
- Are there individuals or groups who are obviously distressed?
How soon would you like us on site? We will discuss this with you so that we can make the best possible decision.
2. Think about:
Immediate plans. The next 1 to 2 hours - the next 24 hrs.
What information will be given to employees and/or the media.
Identify employees at risk.
3. Psychological First Aid
We prefer to be on site to help you with this, but if that is not possible ensure that you:
- Identify a place for employees to congregate - smaller rooms feel safer than large ones.
- Without it feeling like pressure, all should be encouraged to attend.
- Monitor doors to ensure that unwelcome outsiders do not enter (the media).
- Give employees what ever information you have. Ensure that it is totally accurate and DO NOT make promises that you cannot keep later.
- Check how people are feeling - give them a chance to talk and be together.
- Do not encourage emotional venting - most people are likely to be in shock.
- Tell staff that you are arranging further assistance which will help them to make sense of what has happened and explain to them how people normally react.
- Tell employees not to talk to the media.
- They will probably be shocked, so be careful about the way they get home. Taxi, or driven by relatives, who are less affected, is usually safest. Remember that your own senior staff are likely to be affected too.
4. Telephone support
We can make this available from an early stage of the crisis.
5. Debriefing, reaction and normalisation session
(THIS IS A SPECIALIST FIELD, IT IS NOT COUNSELLING)
This should be held within seven days of the incident.
The goals are:
- Educate: explain symptoms and normal responses.
- Normalise: the group experience helps people to put the experience within context and to discover that others are having similar difficulties.
- Expression: the telling of the story, talking about thoughts and feelings and experiences.
- Assessment: evaluating "at risk" individuals.
A month later the majority of people are "moving on". This meeting helps many people to "close" an event and to realise the degree of recovery they have achieved.
We will again evaluate and encourage staff to accept one-to-one counselling if the evaluation indicates that they are still troubled by the incident.
7. Face to Face counselling
Obviously local circumstances vary, but we will make, or assist with, local arrangements for face to face counselling if this is necessary.