Several resources are
available to all AFD members and families for stress management intervention.
You may contact your AFD Chaplains at any time for individual or group
pastoral support, formal or informal stress debriefings, or for assistance with
any work or personally related issue.
Following a critical
incident, your Chaplains are available to provide individual or group
debriefings. In addition to
providing you in-house support, there are also other resources AFD Chaplains may
An established Big Country
Critical Incident Stress Management Program (CISM) is available to first
responders in the Abilene area. These
resources may be utilized in cases such as those involving a line of duty death,
multiple casualty/fatality scenes, death of a child, etc.
In these cases, following an
on-site evaluation, a period of initial defusing occurs within the few hours
following the incident where firefighters are provided a supportive and
confidential environment to experience and express the normal feelings and
emotions characteristic of such incidents.
A formal Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) is conducted within
24 to 48 hours following the incident. A
follow-up CISD may be conducted as needed in the weeks or months following the
The City of Abilene offers a
cost-free Employee Assistance Program that includes counseling services.
An Employee Assistance help line is available 24 hours a day by calling
Your Fire Chaplains also have
referral access to other local resources for specialized long term or follow-on
counseling for you and/or family members, including child and adolescent
counseling and marriage enrichment services.
In these cases, a person’s financial situation is taken into
consideration and fee adjustments are made accordingly.
While at times it is
obvious that a critical incident has occurred following a major event and a
formal Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) response is appropriate, many
times it is difficult to ascertain what exactly constitutes a “critical”
incident on an individual level. The
cumulative stress of a series of more minor incidents, coupled with the many
stresses of everyday life, can also significantly impact you and the lives of
those around you. It is as equally
important to your health and well being, and for your relationships with others,
that this type of stress also be recognized.
In these cases, you must
be willing to reach out in a proactive way to prevent the destructive
consequences that will result when this type of cumulative stress is left
unchecked. Just as a working fire
was once at an incipient stage, ignoring this type of pressure will eventually
result in negative consequences in your life, often impacting not only you but
also those whom you love.
In many cases, stress
“debriefings” addressing the issues associated with the daily work performed
by the AFD are conducted through spontaneous and informal interaction between
firefighters, where a supportive network is already in place due to the close
knit community and camaraderie shared by those in the Fire Service.
There are, however, times in everyone’s life when needs for growth,
healing, and encouragement exist that can be best met through other sources.
To access any of these
services, any member of the AFD may contact the Chaplains directly
by calling 676-6691. All
information is handled with strict confidentiality and any services accessed
through the Fire Chaplaincy office are completely outside of your