Critical Incident Response, Consultation, and Training

Stacks Image 1078

Critical Incidents

When thinking about the media, most of us watching the news probably never stop to think about how reporters are affected. Whether reporting from the comfort of one’s home station and network, or as a field reporter or combat reporter, the risks for psychological impact become obvious. The careers of too many reporters have been prematurely cut short and/or their home lives suffered greatly due to unmitigated exposure to one or multiple and graphic traumas. As with any other profession, there is much that can be done to alleviate their suffering.
Below are Critical Incidents Encountered In the Media:

  • Line of duty death of a colleague
  • Serious injury to a co-worker
  • Unexpected death of a co-worker
  • Working under extremely threatening circumstances (e.g. North Hollywood shootout)
  • Exposure to a particularly gruesome incident
  • Dismemberment and/or large loss of blood
  • Witnessing severely burned victim(s)
  • Incidents involving death or serious injury/illness of a young child
  • Suicide of a co-worker
  • Assaults on self or others while reporting or after leaving the field (e.g. someone who didn’t like your news story on radio or TV)
  • Explicit threats of assault on staff
  • Being taken hostage
  • Working under threatening conditions including WMD such as biological, nuclear, incendiary, chemical, or explosive events
  • Prolonged exposure to an ongoing story that has personally impacted you
  • Incidents with particularly strong sensory stimuli (e.g. smell of blood)
  • Reporting in a mass casualty environment
  • Working in a war zone
  • Line of duty death such as police officer or firefighter
  • Knowing the person or neighborhood that you are reporting in
  • Identifying with someone in the news story
  • Someone who is similar in age/appearance to you or a loved one
  • Multiple fatalities within a short period of time
  • Dealing with hysterical and demanding family members
  • Dealing with invasive colleagues
  • Any incident that has compromised or could comprise one or more person’s ability to function
Note: If you are not certain if you or an employee in your media organization has been exposed to a critical incident, you are encouraged to contact Dr. Brown for a telephone consult. He will help you assess the incident to determine what response might be appropriate.