Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD)

What is a critical incident?

A critical incident in the workplace is a sudden, traumatic event that is overwhelming, emotionally charged, and often
dangerous. Examples of critical incidents include:

  • Natural disasters
  • Robberies
  • Assaults or threats of assaults
  • Workplace violence
  • Bomb threats
  • Death or injury on the job
  • Sudden, unexpected death of a co-worker
  • Terrorism

How to request a CISD

CISD is a comprehensive approach to managing critical incident stress. Crisis response services are provided by professionals nationwide with a minimum of a Master’s degree and training and/or experience in trauma, grief, and crisis response. Crisis response training includes International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF), Red Cross, and the Psychological First Aid model of critical incident response.

How the CISD process works:

  • Call and request that a provider respond in-person to a critical incident.
  • You will be transferred to a workplace support incident EAP consultant, who will ask for additional information to assess the situation.
  • Once the workplace support consultant has the necessary information, he or she will immediately begin searching for a provider to conduct CISD sessions at the requested time and place. CISD services are usually conducted 24 – 72 hours after an incident has occurred, or as deemed appropriate to meet the needs of the site.
  • As soon as a provider is assigned, you will be contacted to make specific arrangements for the visit.

*NOTE: Some State of California departments have their own internal CISD process. Please follow your department’s
procedures prior to initiating a CISD request.