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Summarize the steps of CISD

This is a critical incident stress debriefing. The purpose of this debriefing is to lessen the overall impact of a stressful event, and to speed up your recovery from normal reactions you may be having to abnormal events.

Following some some introductory points, we will be asking you to describe the details of _____ so that we can get a clear picture of what exactly happened.

We will ask you about the thoughts you were having during _____ and about how you reacted. We will also check in with stress symptoms you may have experienced during or following the event.

We will share some information with you about things you can do to help recover from this event more quickly.

Following this session, we invite you to stay for some food. Myself and my team will be available to answer your questions, and speak one on one.



This is very important. This meeting is confidential. My team does not take notes and we do not report on what is said here to anyone. We ask that you do the same. No notes, no using cell phones or social media, and please do not repeat anything that has been said here outside of the group, with the exception of coping skills that may be shared. Can I get a nod from everyone to agree to this?


Operational critique

This is a discussion of an extraordinaory event, not an critique or investigation.


No blaming

In the spirit of a pact of trust, please do not blame others or make judgements. Everyone has their own perspective; please allow them to make it without judgment



Some of you may not want to be here, or feel that you don't need this or can handle things on your own. While this may be true, I encourage you to stay. For one thing, we know that people who try to handle things on their own take longer to do it. Secondly, your presence here may help one of your colleagues, and something you say may provide an important detail to help someone else move through this.


Belong at scene

Can you please take a moment to look around the room, and point out anyone you don't know, or whom you don't think should be here?

Ma'am can you identify yourself?


No breaks

We will not be taking any breaks during this session. Once we are done with the introduction we will take a short break so that you can use the restroom and make any child care arrangements



There may be emotions that come up in the group, lets keep this a safe environment for each other. Please direct your comments to me.


Introduce facts phase?

I'm going to ask each of you to describe the _____ in detail. I'll begin on my right, so I'll ask you in a moment, and we'll move around the circle one by one. I would like to know specifically what happened, including what you saw, heard, smelled.


Introduce thoughts phase?

So now I'm going to ask you a different question, and we'll go around the circle again. This time, I would like to know what your thoughts were. For example, what was the first or main thought you had on scene. Or a thought that has stuck with you since ________


Introduce reactions phase?

We are going to shift gears now. We will no longer be going around in a circle. I am simply going to put a question out to the group, and anyone is free to answer.. A reminder to please direct your comments to me.

What was the most challenging or difficult aspect of this experience for you? How did you react at the time?


Introduce symptoms phase?

Now I'm going to ask the group, and again, anyone is free to respond, what signs of stress did you notice personally at the scene? What symptoms have you noticed in yourself since then?


Introduce teaching phase?

So know I would like to know, what has helped people, since the event?


What are the main teaching points?

Diet, exercise, rest, minimal drugs, alcohol, medication
Keep in contact with family and friends

Expected symptoms -
Memory, sleep, thoughts, reminders, avoidance
Strong emotions, or lack of emotions
Fear, racing heart, cold clammy skin, paranoia

Most people will recover from an event like this on their own. But if symptoms persist, please see a doctor or a counsellor as they can help you heal from a stress injury.