Stamas bill supports Critical Incident Stress Management teams

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas, Roxanne Affholter of Michigan Crisis Response Association and Midland Fire Department Chief Chris Coughlin shared with members of the Senate Health Policy Committee on Tuesday about the need to support Michigan’s Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) teams.

“Our CISM teams assist our emergency service providers — like our police, firefighters and EMS workers — in dealing with critical stress, especially following a traumatic event,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “People in high-stress professions are often vital to our public safety and they have found these services to be very helpful. However, without assurances of confidentiality, these service are not being utilized by many emergency service providers who could be helped.”

Senate Bill 444 would define Critical Incident Stress Management and its key components, as well as outline confidentiality provisions. Critical Incident Stress is defined as the actual or perceived event or situation that involves crisis, disaster, trauma or emergency.

“The loss of life and traumatic experiences for our first responders has led to enactments of laws and protocols for their physical safety,” Affholter said. “There is no question a firefighter wouldn’t wear certain protective gear or a police officer wouldn’t wear a bulletproof vest. I see this as taking a very important next step in protecting the psychological safety of our emergency services providers.”

There are approximately 56 CISM teams throughout Michigan registered with Michigan Crisis Response Association (MCRA). MCRA provides training and support that follows the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation model.

CISM teams respond to critical incidents, such as a natural disaster, assault, suicide or a death of a child or co-worker.

“If left untreated, a critical event can impact and change a person’s ability to cope with daily life. One major benefit of CISM team services is preventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Stamas said. “In short, helping workers deal more effectively with critical stress is good for the employee, the employer and for the entire community.”

The bill is supported by the Fire Chiefs Association of Michigan, Michigan Association of Ambulance Services and Michigan Crisis Response Association.


Editor’s note: The above photographs are available by clicking on the images or by visiting Stamas’ website at: Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.