Critical Incident Response, Consultation, and Training

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Critical Incidents

Basic Definition
The psychological distress and crisis that is sometimes associated with exposure to a traumatic event is referred to as a critical incident. This acute response to a traumatic event becomes a crisis when:

  1. One or more people experience significant and increased levels of stress;
  2. When one’s usual coping mechanisms have failed; and
  3. As a result of the Critical Incident there is evidence of significant distress and impairment to the extent that people’s ability to function has been compromised.

We know that there has been a Critical Incident when one or more people may have become so impacted that they are having difficulty functioning in their day-to-day life either at home, at work, at school, or in any other social aspect of their lives.

These links provide examples of critical incidents that can and do occur in the following fields: