NASA logo NASA Headquarters' Directives
HQPR 1830.1
Effective Date: September 24, 2008
Expiration Date: June 28, 2019
Responsible Office: LM
Headquarters Critical Incident Stress Management Program
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Table of Contents | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | Chapter4 | AppendixA

APPENDIX A. Definitions

A.1 Critical Incident. A critical incident is defined as any experience that is outside the realm of normal every day problems that is markedly distressing and thus, has the potential to interfere with one's ability to function. These incidents could include, but are not limited to, natural disasters, manmade disasters, major mission failure, terrorism, homicide, sudden death, suicide, workplace violence, witness to violence, kidnapping or hostage situations, etc.

A.2 Critical Incident Stress (CIS). Critical incident stress is a set of normal reactions to a critical incident which have the potential to interfere with an individual's ability to function either at the scene or later. These reactions can be emotional, cognitive or physical. Depending on several factors which may contribute to post traumatic stress, this type of stress can be debilitating unless properly attended early on.

A.3 Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). Critical Incident Stress Management is a comprehensive, integrative, multi-component crisis intervention system. CISM is considered comprehensive because it consists of multiple crisis intervention components, which functionally span the entire temporal spectrum of a crisis. CISM interventions range from the pre-crisis phase through the acute crisis phase, and into the post- crisis phase. CISM is also considered comprehensive in that it consists of interventions which may be applied to individuals, small functional groups, large groups, families, organizations, and even communities.

A.4 Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD). Critical Incident Stress Debriefing is a process that prevents or limits the development of post- traumatic stress in people exposed to critical incidents. Professionally conducted debriefings help people cope with, and recover from an incident's after effects. CISD enables participants to understand that they are not alone in their reactions to a distressing event, and provides them with an opportunity to discuss their thoughts and feelings in a controlled, safe environment. Optimally, CISD occurs within 24 to 72 hours of an incident.

A.5 Defusing. A defusing is a process which comprises group meetings or discussions about a traumatic event, or series of traumatic events. The defusing session is typically implemented within 24 hours of a traumatic event. The defusing process in the workplace is designed to offer information, support, and allow initial venting of feelings.

A.6 Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The Employee Assistance Program is a short term counseling, referral and follow-up service for employees (and their eligible dependents) who may be experiencing personal or work place problems. It is free and confidential, and helps employees resolve personal problems that may adversely impact their work performance, conduct, health and well-being.

A.7 Intervention: For the purposes of this document, intervention refers to the methods that may be used to offer immediate, short term help to individuals who experience an event that produces emotional, mental, physical, and behavioral distress or problems. The purpose is to prevent or mitigate traumatic stress and assist in the restoration of functioning. It is a support service, and not psychotherapy or a substitute for psychotherapy.

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