The Crisis Response (CISM) Team:
General Guidelines for Team Development
STEP 1: Identify the need for the crisis response (CISM) team. Based upon identified needs, a rationale for the team’s existence should both pragmatically and rhetorically emerge.
STEP 2: Clearly state the goals of the crisis response team. Clearly state the constituency to be served by the team.
STEP 3: Delineate guidelines for team membership and the specific roles to be performed.
· Administrative structure
· Dispatching functions
· Response functions, listing mental health providers’ roles vis-à-vis the use of paraprofessionals (if applicable)
· Clinical mental health oversight / supervision
· Team member selection criteria
STEP 4: Determine how the team will be legally constituted.
STEP 5: Determine how the team will be funded.
STEP 6: Obtain legal counsel to operationally define issues such as malpractice, standards of care, confidentiality, “good Samaritan” practices, necessary liability insurance coverage, etc.
STEP 7: Determine what criteria and mechanisms will be used to activate the team. Determine what backup systems will be used in the case of a mass disaster or widespread communication failure.
STEP 8: Determine what specific crisis intervention techniques will be used by the team (For example: defusing, CISD, individual crisis counseling, etc.)
STEP 9: Determine what criteria and mechanisms will be used to deactivate the team.
STEP 10: Stipulate guidelines and procedures for follow-up for team members after a crisis response.
STEP 11: Make arrangements for ongoing “in-service” training.
STEP 12: Create a clear, practical operating manual which contains policies and procedures and which addresses all of the aforementioned issues.
*Excerpt from "Critical Incident Stress Management", Second Edition, Everly & Mitchell.