The definition of critical incident is any situation faced by an individual which causes them to experience unusually strong emotional reactions and which has the potential to interfere with their ability to function either at the time of the incident or at a later stage. Critical incident stress is the reaction of normal people experiencing normal responses to an abnormal event.
The impact of the incident could depend on many factors, such as
The severity and nature of the event
The person's role in the incident
Identification with the victim
The person's ability to cope
The behavior and attitude of others
Examples of events which may trigger Critical Incident Stress may be
Serious injury or death
Severe burn victim
Major disaster / mass casualties
Severe injury or death of a child
An incident of long duration
Personal relationship to the victim
West Kelowna Fire Rescue offers a CIS program which provides support to staff involved in a critical incident and ensures that everyone's physical and mental health is maintained.