How to Identify and Manage a Critical Incident


A critical incident or traumatic event can arise in many forms, with little or no notice.

While every event is completely different, they do have one thing in common – the way they can affect an individual’s life, both personally and professionally.

A person who has experienced a critical incident may begin to suffer from further issues, which may affect their mental health and ability to work to their full potential.

With traumatic events varying in nature, people’s reactions can differ greatly under these situations, so it is important to recognise when support is needed.

While managers may feel unable to offer guidance to help their staff, this is not at all the case. There are many ways in which an individual’s workplace health can be maintained through these difficult times.

For more information on how a critical incident can be identified and managed, read on.

Critical incidents explained
A critical incident is an event which may provoke an unusually strong emotional response and affect a person’s ability to function normally.

These incidents can range from minor to moderate to severe, but are always sensitive subjects for those involved, and should be treated accordingly.

Examples of occurrences which can be classified as critical incidents are traffic accidents and long-term serious illnesses. Terrorist attacks such as the Manchester bombing seen in 2017 could also be classed as a large-scale critical incident.

These events can usually be a very personal matter, which can make it hard to support individuals who have been affected.

Due to this, it is important that they are handled with compassion and in most situations, the help of a professional is recommended.

How can critical incident stress management be incorporated?

Experiencing such an incident can affect people in different ways so it is important that support is tailored to each individual in order to give them the most stress-free recovery possible.

One method of support that can help employees recover is to have a professionally trained team offer tips to managers on how to support employees.

As well as this, experts can help more senior members of staff to better understand individuals’ reactions when faced with trauma. This reduces the risk of being caught off guard or being nervous about saying the wrong thing.

A Critical Incident Stress Management Service can also help individuals to talk through their situation with a professional, who is specially trained in CISM.

This works to help them understand their thoughts and feelings, allowing them to recover well and know that their emotions are normal in this distressing time.
Preparing for a critical incident
While these incidents are unpredictable in their nature and content and therefore cannot be avoided, pre-incident support can prepare your company for such events.

This is done by teaching staff how to stay calm, and deal with situations accordingly should they arise. Running through the correct actions in the face of a critical incident will help to minimise the damage done and help maintain a good level of corporate wellness.

Taking these steps will help support staff through what can otherwise be some of the most difficult times of their lives. This will not only benefit individuals, but the whole business.