Critical Incident Response, Consultation, and Training

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Critical Incidents

Disaster Relief Organizations
A disaster relief organization or other non-governmental organization (NGO) is an organization that is neither a part of a government nor a conventional for-profit business. NGOs are highly diverse groups of organizations engaged in a wide range of activities, and take different forms in different parts of the world. Many NGOs, like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army are involved directly in recovering from disasters. In many cases, NGO workers are immersed in the recovery effort and do not realize they are being caught up in the emotional turmoil that comes with the disturbing imagery that frequently follows disasters.
Here is a list of critical incidents that NGOs may encounter:

  • Another member dies unexpectedly
  • Another member dies expectedly
  • Serious injury to a fellow member
  • Serious illness of a fellow member
  • Being an eyewitness to a particularly gruesome incident
  • Suicide of a fellow member
  • Murder/suicide by a current or former member
  • Assault on one or more members
  • Explicit threats of assault on self and others including colleagues and family members
  • One or more members becomes a hostage
  • Catastrophic equipment failure resulting in death or injury of one or more fellow members (e.g. building collapse during search)
  • Robbery
  • Sexual assault or threat of sexual assault
  • Naturally occurring incidents (e.g. earthquakes, fires, floods, extreme weather events)
  • Technological disasters (e.g. total communications failures, catastrophic breach of radioactive materials)
  • Operational decisions resulting in death or other serious injury to one or more members
  • Policy and ad hoc operational decisions resulting in death or other serious injury to one or more civilians
  • Unexpected breaches in security resulting in injury or death
  • Traumatic incidents with particularly strong sensory stimuli (e.g. smell of blood, smell of gas related to an explosion)
  • Knowing the victim
  • Identifying with the victim
  • Victim is similar in age/appearance to you or a loved one
  • Other traumatic incidents within a short period of time
  • Prolonged resuscitation with negative outcome
  • 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 any member in your 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.