Recovery is the process of assisting people with the
physical, psychological and emotional trauma
associated with experiencing tragic events.
Recovery is also utilizing a "Business Continuity
Plan" or a "Continuity of Operations Plan" to return
to normal operations as soon as possible.
Understanding “Critical Incidents”
The term “critical incident” is used to describe
events that overwhelm an individual’s capacity to
cope. Traumatic events can cause psychological and
emotional turmoil, cognitive problems and behavioral
Immediate vs. Ongoing Recovery
is essential to understand recovery at two distinct
levels, immediate and ongoing. Immediate support is
needed from the first moments of a traumatic event
through the first few days following it.
Frequently, recent victims of major trauma are in a
state of shock, and at this time basic human needs
of food, shelter and clothing are often a primary
focus. Long-term recovery needs may not be readily
apparent, and for many, ongoing support will be
needed. Ongoing recovery refers to support provided
to some individuals for weeks, months or years
following a tragic event.
Assessment, Crisis Intervention and Support
Children and their parents, faculty, staff and
administrators, public safety personnel and the
larger community are all impacted by tragic events
and will benefit from immediate and ongoing support.
For some traumatic events the District Support Team
may be adequate to provide immediate and ongoing
recovery services. Emergencies that affect a
small number of people, or certain district-level
emergencies may be well served by crisis counseling
and recovery from other district employees, local
community mental health providers, employee
assistance programs and similar services. Often,
this is a appropriate time to include members of
faith based organizations who have the appropriate
training in this area.
For large-scale emergencies, however, services such
as triage, assessment, outreach and crisis
intervention are best delivered on a regional basis
through a trained rapid response network. For
large-scale disasters, site-based personnel normally
assigned these functions are now victims/survivors
themselves. The regional network of trained
professionals provides a structured immediate first
response system to support the district in need.
Site-based personnel will be called on to provide
the ongoing support services once the immediate
crisis has passed. Their effectiveness will be
strengthened if needed support is afforded to
them during the early days of recovery.
Recognizing the impact of incident related
stress on all school and district staff
members while supporting outreach efforts will help
insure “quality care”.