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What are Critical Incidents?

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What are critical incidents?

This is when something happens that can be considered traumatic and beyond what would be expected in normal day-to-day life.


A critical incident is likely to evoke reactions such as helplessness, intense fear, or horror.


The incident will typically involve the actual, or perceived, serious threat to someone’s life or their welfare. These types of incidents usually undermine our sense of safety, security, and competency in the world.


Exposure to these types of incidents often results in psychological injury such as Acute Stress and may result in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Examples of Critical Incidents in the workplace

  • Being an emergency worker/first responder in critical incidents and disasters (emergency services, EMS, fire, police and rescue services, hospital or school

  • Line of duty death or injury (first responders)

  • Serious accidents or injuries at work

  • Workplace violence

  • Poor stress management skills of personnel

  • Chronic job-related stress (emergency services, medical field, etc.

  • Robbery, workplace crime

  • Suicide

  • Workplace fatality

  • Death of a colleague away from work

  • Downsizing/layoffs

  • Mergers

  • Terrorist activities

  • Natural disasters such as fires, floods, hurricanes, etc.

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