How to best prepare for a critical incident

By: Drake WellbeingHub

One of the core pillars of an Employee Assistance Program’s (EAP’s) is Critical Incident Management. Unfortunately in today's world, critical incidents are not the rarity that they once were. People are struggling, life circumstances have changed, and our current reality looks very different to what it once did. Whilst we cannot always prevent the occurrence of critical incidents, we can be proactive and we must be prepared. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO), describes a critical incident as an event out of the range of normal experience – one which is sudden and unexpected, involves the perception of a threat to life and can include elements of physical and emotional loss. With adequate care, most people can recover after experiencing a critical incident.. In light of this, organisations need to be well equipped to manage critical incidents, no matter what it is, when it occurs, or how significant the impact on the wider organisation.

Critical incidents can result in a diverse range of feelings and emotions; shock, fear, anger, helplessness and sadness. These feelings and emotions can lead to tension, sleeplessness, nightmares, social withdrawal and physical sensations such as headaches, aches and pains, loss of appetite and breathing difficulties. These feelings, emotions and changes in behaviour not only impact the individual, but can impact the wider organisation in terms of workplace culture, team morale, productivity levels and performance. 

The checklist below details some key approaches to mitigating risks and preparing adequately for a critical incident:

  • Develop positive relationships between workers and managers 
  • Establish a positive working environment - good team morale and workplace culture
  • In consultation with workers, develop procedures for responding to critical incidents.Make sure that workers are familiar with these procedures.

In addition to being prepared for an incident, it is equally important to be prepared on how to manage it. You should always:

  • Arrange a meeting for all those involved immediately 
  • Summarise the incident and encourage workers to talk about what they experienced
  • Show care and regard, and ensure those impacted are aware of the support channels available to them 
  • Make arrangements for short-term work responsibility, if needed 
  • Provide follow-up support to those who require longer-term assistance 

It is one thing to be equipped with an EAP provider, yet it is another to ensure you have the tools, practices, and procedures in place to manage the next incident.

Contact Drake WellbeingHub to understand how your organisation can be prepared in the event of a critical incident

Call us on 1300 135 600

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