Critical Incident Support

Critical Incidents in the workplace can occur in a variety of different forms, such as a workplace accident, sudden death or injury of a worker or client, or unforeseen staff redundancies. When these incidents occur, members of the workplace can be affected in different ways. Common responses include, stress, fatigue, withdrawal, absenteeism, job uncertainty. Responding to critical incidents is a specific intervention that assists individuals and workplaces to readjust, thereby helping to minimise the number of individuals who may develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

Caraniche Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is an extended hour's service specifically designed to meet the needs of organisations that may experience a critical incident, and an initial response within two hours is expected during operating hours.  The standard service operates from 9am to 5pm every day of the year, and is easily accessible by contacting our main office number (03) 8417 0500.  Alternatively, we can tailor a service (including 24-hour operation) to your organisation's needs.

This service is specifically designed to provide support to managers and agency staff in the management of critical incidents in the workplace.  Caraniche is an organisational member of the Australasian Critical Incident Stress Association and its CISM practitioners consistently update their skills and knowledge in response to ongoing national and international standards.

Services include:

Psychological First-Aid

An experienced Caraniche CISM practitioner can offer support to management in dealing with the critical incident, with the aim to stabilise the situation, re-establish control and return the workplace to a level of normality.  Staff will be advised of potential issues to consider, practical strategies that can be implemented immediately and the likely timing and format of any other CISM response.  This consultancy role is available to managers and key personnel on an on-going basis, and extends beyond the first few hours of a critical incident.  With complex situations, psychological first aid may continue for several weeks.

Critical Incident Stress Defusing

Defusing is provided as soon as possible after a critical incident and aims to stabilise staff members' responses by addressing the immediate stress responses of those directly affected by the incident. Caraniche specialises in providing the training and support to allow organisations to defuse internally when appropriate.

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing 

Debriefing is a structured discussion aimed at putting an abnormal event into perspective. This is achieved by focusing on the 'facts' of the incident and on people's reactions to the situation and by providing information/education on managing responses to the incident. Caraniche works from the Mitchell model of debriefing, with appropriate adaptations to suit each workplace.

Trauma Management 

At times it will be assessed that an individual staff member is particularly affected and requires immediate trauma intervention. This service may divert that person from the defusing/debriefing process, or they may benefit from both the specialised and the standard forms of CISM services being available to them. This need requires careful assessment by the CISM practitioner.

Follow-up Counselling and Support

If on-going support or counselling is required, the Caraniche CISM service is able to provide individual or group sessions as required.  This may be most appropriate during periods of extreme stress associated with an incident, such as around the time of Coronial inquests, media attention, or when other team members are exposed to a similar situation.  Anniversaries and other significant markers after an event often require an additional support session. Alternatively, referrals can be made to appropriate services, such as Employee Assistance programs, community based support services and specialised counselling services


Clinician training is available as part of the Caraniche CISM service, and some of our main topics include:

·         Introduction to Critical Incident Stress Management

·         Supporting and Leading Teams through Times of Stress and Crises

·         Managers Role in Critical Incident Stress Management.

Other training can be provided or located as necessary, dependent on the requirements of the organisation and its staff members. (See also Training)


If a situation arises when the requirements of an organisation is outside the brief of the Caraniche CISM service, appropriate referral to other specialist providers will be made.