First Aid/Critical Incident Stress & Victim Death

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What is Critical Incident Stress?

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Any emergency that involves a severe injury or death is a critical incident. This incident could be amplified should the emergency involve a family member or friend. The stress that these incidents cause may overwhelm a first aider and shut down their ability to cope. This is what is known as critical incident stress (CIS). This condition may have a great impact on the first aider suffering from it, and if left un-treated, this stress may lead to a more serious condition known as post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Signs of CIS

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  • May not perform well at their job.
  • May seem pre-occupied.
  • Confusion
  • Poor concentration
  • Denial
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Change in appetite
  • Unusual behavior


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CIS requires professional help to avoid Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. However, there are supplements to professional treatment that will help such as:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Avoiding drugs and alcohol
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Getting enough rest
  • Talking with peers

More information can be found at the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation

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