Hold a short debriefing


By Mark van der Feyst

An incident that produces bad results for either the fire department or for those who called for help can create stress for each responder. This stress can have lasting effects on the firefighter, which will produce some bad outcomes.

Having a quick debrief right after the incident is a good way to communicate with the responding crews. This debrief is an opportunity for immediate expression of thoughts, feelings or concerns. It is also an opportunity for incident commanders to let crews know how good of a job they did as opposed to waiting for a formal debriefing session, which can be a few days afterward.

The quick debrief is not to replace the formal session if one is needed; certainly a critical incident stress debrief can be very beneficial in many ways for the individual as well as for the fire department. Be sure to have a quick debrief after certain calls that may affect crew members. 

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