Critical Incident Peer Support Team - CIPS
The City of Hamilton has an in-house Critical Incident Peer Support Team that has been trained and certified in Critical Incident Stress Management. Who is the CIPS Team? City of Hamilton employees who volunteer their time to offer assistance to their peers.
What is a Critical Incident?
A critical incident is described as a sudden, extraordinary event outside the range of everyday experience. It causes profound emotional feelings, sufficient to overcome one's usual coping abilities. It is often a tragic or traumatic event, typically unexpected and seen as unfair, illogical or senseless. Examples may include: serious injury or death of a co-worker; serious injury or traumatic death of others, especially children, arising out of or associated with the workplace; or serious threats to employees.
Critical Incident Stress is a set of normal reactions to an abnormal event which have the potential to interfere with a person's ability to function either at the scene or later. These reactions can be emotional, cognitive or physical and may include such symptoms as: anxiety, depression, visual flashbacks, nausea, crying, sleep disturbance, nightmares, loss of interest in job, increased us of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and withdrawal from family, friends and co-workers.
Intervention, immediately following the event, may help to reduce the physical and emotional symptoms associated with critical incident stress and accelerate the recovery process.
What is the Role of the Response Team?
The Critical Incident Peer Support Team (CIPS) is in place to provide employees with on-site assistance in the form of critical incident stress defusing. Qualified CIPS Team members meet with small groups of employees (up to 15) usually for an hour in a convenient location. Team members give those in attendance time to be together to express their thoughts and feelings.
In addition, the CIPS Team provides further information and resource support to employees.
Contacting the Response Team.
The process is initiated by a departmental General Manager, Director, Manager or designate, who will contact the Critical Incident Peer Support Team Coordinator. Once alerted, the CIPS Coordinator will speak with the contact person in the affected department to obtain more information. Once the process has been initiated, all employees affected are encouraged to attend the defusing session, usually 1 hour in length.
The goal of the CIPS Team is to be on-site, providing assistance to employees, within 24 - 72 hours of the event.
For more information, please call Mary Agro, CIPS Team Coordinator, at 905-546-2424 x 2630