CISM Team Helps 1st Responders Cope Through Trauma

January 19, 2024  |  coping, first responders, mental health
CISM team

When first responders answer an emergency call, they often find a difficult scene.

And that scene can cause intense trauma that may be difficult to process.

That's where the CISM Team - which stands for Crisis Intervention Stress Management - comes in.

"Our work is to sit with first responders and help them process what they experience in a traumatic situation," said CISM Chaplain Bob Mertle. "We want them to feel supported."

CISM team member Jerry Krebs, who works with the Carlisle Police Department, added the team wants to ensure that first responders can talk about what they see, and process it.

"We want them to feel supported," he said.

The team has responded to help deal with various traumatic calls, from losing one of their own to working with responders dealing with crimes against children. Members provided a session to help deal with a crime involving a child at the end of 2023.

Overall, the team wants to normalize discussion of traumatic events and scenes, Mertle said. "People end up opening up and know they have an ally walking with them."

The team consists of 25 members from departments across Warren County and parts of Clinton County, and it continues to grow, helping many first responders along the way.

"When they have completed the process, our goal is to return the first responders to a pre-incident level of coping as fast as possible."

For more information, contact CISM team member and MHRB staff member Jeff Rhein at 513-695-1695.