Critical Incident Stress Management - NPS History

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The Journal of the Association of National Park Rangers Vol. XV, No. 1 Winter 1998-99 Critical Incident Stress Management m ANGER RANGER: THE JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL PARK RANGERS Letters Special Issue A special symposium edition of the Den- ver University Law Review (Vol. 74, No. 3, 1997) is devoted to the National Park Sys- tem. Your readers might be interested in this issue. John Freemuth Boise State University Uniformed Employees I was poring over the Draft Gettysburg GMP and getting more and more depressed when I saw the Summer edition of Ranger on the table. I picked it up and what a breath of fresh air! In it were pictures of uniformed employees talking to the public. Unfortu- nately, in the same issue is the article by Senator Craig Thomas. His message was simple: the public isn't asking, so we (the Congress) aren't appropriating. This atti- tude in Congress leads to "the end justifies the means" thinking in the NPS. The proposed visitor center at Gettysburg is a case in point. If any park needed a new visitor center it is Gettysburg. The means to the end is what bothers me. The park will contract with a wealthy developer who will then ceate a "Foundation" to raise the funds to build the building. It will be built on private land inside the park boundary. About two-thirds of the money would come from donations and grants and the other one-third from commercial loans to be repaid from fees for programs in the building and tenant rent. The NPS would pay the cost of custodial services in its administrative offices in the building. The developer may or may not get the contract to build the building. If he does get it, it would certainly be suspect as a conflict of interest, I should think. When built the museum will be based on interpretive themes developed by outside historians. Eastern National will run the bookstore, the electric map program, the film, and the cyclorama, and a concessioner will operate the restaurant. The Foundation will provide an operating plan to the NPS and will then manage and operate the visitor center. The only uniformed NPS people called for by the plan are maintenance em- ployees picking up trash outside the center. After the loans are paid off, the used build- ing will be donated to the NPS. The Plan does not even say that at that point the NPS would manage and operate it. Gettysburg is a major park in the System. This plan, if implemented, will allow mil- lions of visitors to see the park and never come in contact with the "gray and green" in any personal way. There are other means to acquire a new visitor center including using the park "friends" organization to do the same thing only with NPS management and operations at the end of the rainbow. Or I suppose the NPS could invite Disney Enter- prises to take over. At least they have dem- onstrated some quality in their operations. The Gettysburg plan makes the local NPS superfluous. I believe it to be a great chink in the armor against park privatization. Keep printing pictures of uniformed em- ployees talking to the public. They are good for my morale! Daniel Ft. Kuehn Arden Hills, MN [email protected] Addendum to FBI Academy List These NPS employees also are graduates of the FBI National Academy, but their names weren't included on the list in Ranger, Fall 1998: ^ Granville B. Liles, 22nd session • Harry V. Reynolds Jr., 56th session >• Richard W. Marks, 91st session V Charles B. Sigler Jr., 97th session, chief ranger, Shenandoah, National Park ^ Nancy Howell-Streeter, 140th ses- sion, 1985, district ranger, Fire Island Na- tional Seashore VtjTTTi>U^Q Your Views Are Wanted! Letters to the editor are welcomed. Signed letters of 100 words or less may be pub- lished, space permitting. Please include address and daytime phone. Ranger reserves the right to edit letters for grammar or length. Mail to Editor, 26 S. Mt. Vernon Club Road, Golden, CO 80401, or e-mail to [email protected]. Board of Directors Officers President Deanne Adams, CCSO Secretary Heather Whitman, AMIS Treasurer Sarah Craighead, WABA President-Elect Cindy Ott-Jones, GLCA Board Members Education & Training Lisa Eckert, DENA Fund Raising Rick Jones, GLCA Internal Communic. Dan Moses, DINO Membership Services Mike Caldwell, NEBE Professional Issues Barry Sullivan, DEWA Seasonal Perspectives Melanie Berg, Seasonal Special Concerns Steve Shackelton, WASO Strategic Planning Gary Pollock, GWMP Task Groups Budget and Finance vacant Work Life Dixon Freeland, SHEN International Affairs Rick Smith, Retired Mentoring vacant Elections Sue & Bob Hansen, NCR Promotional Items Jeannine McElveen, DEVA Rendezvous Bill Wade, SHEN Retirement Frank Betts, Retired Staff Business Manager Doug VonFeldt Ranger Editor Teresa Ford Editorial Adviser Tony Sisto, FOVA Advertising Mark Harvey, YOSE Professional Ranger Section Interpretation Tina Orcutt, BOWA Protection Steve Clark, LARO Resource Mgt. Bob Krumenaker, NERO 11 ANPR Calendar \ | | Ranger (Spring issue) \ deadline *»• 31> 1 9 W \ 11 , vvtl Snrina 2000 \ U Rendezvous XXII - ^ i a e a {oc^on\ RANGER: WINTER 1998-99 RANGER: THE JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL PARK RANGERS RANGER fcThc Journal of the Association of National Park Rangers Vol. XV, No. 1 Winter 1998-99 Ranger (ISSN 1074-0678) is a quarterly publication of the Association of National Park Rangers, an organization created to communicate for, about and with park rangers; to promote and enhance the park ranger profession and its spirit; to support manage- ment and the perpetuation of the National Park Ser- vice and the National Park System, and to provide a forum for social enrichment. In so meeting these purposes, the Association pro- vides education and other training to develop and/or improve the knowledge and skills of park rangers and those interested in the profession; provides a forum for discussion of common concerns of park rangers, and provides information to the public. The membership of ANPR is comprised of indi- viduals who are entrusted with and committed to the care, study, explanation and/or protection of those natural, cultural and recreational resources included in the National Park System, and persons who support these efforts. ANPR's official address is P.O. Box 108, Lamed, KS 67550-0108. Members receive Ranger as part of their membership dues. Consult the inside back cover for membership and subscription information. Submissions Prospective authors should contact the editor or edi- torial adviser before submitting articles. Editor, Teresa Ford, 26 S. Mt. Vernon Club Road, Golden, CO 80401, (303) 526-1380 or [email protected]. Edito- rial adviser, Tony Sisto, (206) 285-8342 or (360) 699- 9307 or [email protected]. Deadlines Spring issue Jan. 31 Summer issue April 30 Fall issue July 31 Winter issue Oct. 31 Submit copy to editor in WordPerfect 7.0 (or earlier versions) or Microsoft Word format on computer diskette, or send to [email protected]. Advertising Rates and specifications are available for advertising in Ranger. Interested parties should contact the edi- tor, Teresa Ford, 26 S. Mt. Vernon Club Road, Golden, CO 80401; (303) 526-1380. Table of Contents Features The NPS Critical Incident Stress Program 2 Is Your Incident Critical? 4 Outreach: Peer Support and CISM 6 Managing Critical Incident Stress 8 Stress and Politics 9 What's This Thing They Call Peer Support 11 Dealing with Death in the Workplace 12 ANPR Reports 14 Professional Ranger 16 In Print 19 International Ranger Federation 20 All in the Family 22 Cover: Peaceful beach scene on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Photo by Teresa Ford. President's Message A fter four years and 16 issues of Ranger magazine, I am writing to you one last time as your president. In some ways 1995 seems such a short time ago. I had been in Seattle less than a year, the NPS reorganization was beginning and the implementation of Ranger Careers had started. The culmination of the work of so many ANPR members and NPS managers resulted in promotions for rangers across the Service. Now four years later, many take those GS-9 positions for granted, we're back to talking about regions instead of field areas, and my two terms as president are ending. Four years seems a long time ago, though, when I think about the goals I sought when elected. Much has been accomplished since that beginning. One of my primary goals was to strengthen the Association's business functions — to make our organization more fiscally and adminstratively sound. ANPR had evolved in complexity and needed the expertise of a financial professional. Sarah Craighead as treasurer spent endless hours with me as we revised budget strategies, developed audit- ing procedures and ultimately had the op- portunity to hire a new business manager with the professional credentials to bring the Association into a fiscally accountable op- eration. We now are in a position where we can be audited and thus compete for higher- level grants than was possible before. The board took another major step that helped strengthen our business operations. Through the tireless efforts of Barry Sullivan, Darlene Koontz and Gary Pollock, a pro- posed new board structure organized by functional duties was overwhelmingly ap- proved by members in 1996. The 1997 bal- lot had the 10 new positions and this year ANPR would like to thank Pat Buccello, special agent in the Intermountain Region and CISM program manager, for helping to coordinate this issue on critical incident stress management in the NPS. was the first year of operation under that structure. The results so far speak well for the change. For example, Rick Jones as the board member focused on fund raising, is in the final stage of trademarking the ANPR name and logo to give us a marketing edge with potential sponsors. In combination with our professional business manager who has made our accounts ready for outside inspec- tion and review, Jones' work with trade- marking and grant research has laid the foundation for moving toward funding an executive director. My second primary goal was to continue and expand on the powerful advocacy work started by Rick Gale. In the past four years ANPR has been asked to testify half a dozen times on legislation ranging from NPS hous- ing to the future of the NPS. We've written letters to Congress, the Administration and the NPS on a range of issues from term employees and housing to the federal shut- down. As you can imagine, this type of intense work requires a tremendous number of hours of investment. Thus, the board continues to work toward a goal of an execu- tive director who can provide administra- tive and management continuityto the Asso- ciation and reduce the time spent by volun- teers on this work, allowing the president and board to focus on leadership and mis- sion goals of ANPR. My third goal in 1995 was to attract and involve new members from diverse disci- plines. We have surveyed members about what they want the Association to focus on and what they want Ranger magazine to do. Those survey results have helped shape board actions in the past couple years. One of the strongest messages we received was to de- velop a home page for ANPR. A coopera- tive effort between Bill Hay den, who volun- teered numerous hours to develop our pro- totype pages, and Teresa Ford, who re- searched home page options, resulted in accomplishing the first phase of this goal. Check out our new address: www.anpr.org. Finally, the new board structure gives us the tools we need to increase our member- ship and member participations. With Melanie Berg, a seasonal elected to the board to represent seasonal concerns, the non-permanent workforce now has a voice for their issues. Mike Caldwell, the new (continued on page 24) RANGER: WINTER 1998-99 1 RANGER: THE JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL PARK RANGERS The NPS Critical Incident Stress Program What is it and how do I participate? By Pat Buccello Intermountain Region m everal articles on the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) program in the Na- tional Park Service will pro- vide you with hints on how to establish a program, how to access out of park re- sources, and some insight into benefits NPS employees have gained by using the pro- gram. While CISM in the NPS has been around in varying forms for 15 years, some employ- ees, managers and spouses have little or no knowledge of how to access services or participate in the program. CISM has proven itself too valuable to be limited to just a few of the same parks over and over. It is disturb- ing that we still receive phone calls or com- ments from employees that they would like to be able to access CISM services but are afraid their manager will not approve or be concerned that they cannot handle the stress of their jobs. The public we deal with on a routine basis often comment about how lucky we are to live and work in such beautiful, peaceful surroundings. A glance at the Morning Re- port, however, reveals a portion of the stresses many of us regularly face: heroic rescues, major national and international political visits, assaults on employees, cata- strophic destruction of resources, fatalities, dangerous law enforcement incidents, wild- fires, floods and hurricanes. Piled onto these reports are the unsaid stressors of reorgani- zation; budget shortfalls; downsizing of pro- grams; lack of mobility or limited promo- tions. Finally, we are affected by the horren- dous tragedies of employee or family sui- cides, terminal illnesses, line of duty acci- dental deaths and employee homicides. The Evolution of an Employee-Driven Program The CISM program evolved in the early 1980s simultaneously in four of our larger parks: Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Shenandoah. During this time period, CISM was re- ferred to as Critical Inci- dent Stress Debriefing (CISD) in reference to a concept developing among mental health profession- als involved in emergency services. The CISD pro- gram found that exposure to an event that overwhelms the individual's coping mecha- nisms, either occurring in a single event or cumulative events, led to burn out or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Profes- sional clinicians began work with emer- gency service providers in establishing a program of structured debriefmgs. Mental health professionals, accompanied by trained employees identified as peer supporters, led debriefmgs. Rangers involved in emergency services in the parks mentioned above sought out their own training and began establishing CISD programs in their parks. Significant leaders in this arena were J.R. Tomasovic, YOSE; Sherrie Collins, GRCA; Greg Stiles, SHEN; and Rick Obernesser and Bob Marriott, GRSM. It is important to note that this was, and still is, an employee-driven program not one mandated by OSHA, Con- gress, or NPS management. These rangers recruited mental health professionals, wrote guidelines, and located training, many times with managers not knowing such a program was needed let alone being started in their parks. RANGER: WINTER 1998-99 2 :° CJ u a m -q (0 D RANGER: THE JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL PARK RANGERS The Critical Incident Stress Management program puts actions behind the slogan, "Park Service family." The CISM Program Today The CISM program today encompasses much more than single debriefing services, hence the shift from CISD to CISM termi- nology. CISM peer supporters have been requested individually by parks for single short-term incidents; as a strike team by regional offices to assist parks with long term or extensive incidents; as one on ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ~ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ~ one peer support for a personal criti- cal incident; as trainers at refresh- ers; and by other agencies such as USFWS, USFS, ^ — ^ ^ — ^ — BLM and local agencies. The NPS CISM program is di- rected by a program manager, selected by CISM peers and WASO/RAD. Oversight and guidance is provided by the deputy chief, WASO/RAD. To date, funding sources have been nonexistent, with RAD being able to find extra dollars in soft-money programs to support training. Callouts are funded by the requesting park, regional of- fice, or, when appropriate, added to S AR or maj or law and order accounts. Increased use of the program has brought support from managers at all levels, and the concept is a regular module in both FLETC basic and FLETC Law Enforcement for Managers training. How Do I Participate? The CISM program, under the support of WASO/RAD, conducts an annual basic peer support class to train employees from all divisions. Presently, the program maintains a roster of 150 employees who have re- ceived recognized training locally or through the NPS. These employees have volunteered to be available for callout as needed. Though 150 may sound like an adequate number, in one 36-hour ~ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ~ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ period this past Septem- ber, we fielded re- quests for four major multi-day ^ ^ I ^ ^ B ^ I H B ^ ^ c a l l o u t s throughout the country. We easily ran through the roster of qualified available peers in that time period and identified regions of the NPS that sorely lacked trained peers. The next basic training is tentatively planned for February 1999 in the west and March 1999 in the east. This is an increase in courses and will only occur with funding support from regions and WASO. The NPS program has relied heavily on two mental health professionals: Dr. Kevin Gilmartin and Jack Harris of Gilmartin/Har- ris Associates, Tucson, Ariz. Gilmartin/Har- ris have become the patron saints of the NPS CISM program. Internationally recognized as experts in their field, and in high demand by multinational corporations and high-level government organizations, they have re- sponded to NPS line of duty deaths, horrific Immediate Contacts The following CISM-trained employees can be contacted for more information or to dispatch resources. Shenandoah dispatch should be used for after-hours emergency: (540) 999-3422. Bob Marriott, Deputy Chief, WASO-RAD, CISM Oversight (202) 208-4874 Pat Buccello, Special Agent, IMRO, CISM Program Manager, (435) 772-0180 Resource Unit Leaders Jill Hawk, District Ranger, BLRI, (828) 298-0293 Karen Frauson, Supervisory Park Ranger, ZION, (435) 772-0176 Andy Fisher, Supervisory Park Ranger, CACO, (508) 487-2100 Rick Obernesser, Supervisory Park Ranger, YELL, (307) 344-2105 Sherrie Collins, Park Ranger, GRCA, (520) 638-7840 SARS, and Hurricanes Andrew and Marilyn among many other incidents. They exem- plify the benefits of using professionals who understand the organization's climate for effective CISM programs. If you are interested in becoming a peer supporter, consider calling one of the re- source unit leaders listed at the end of this article. Talk with them about the program, your expectations and theirs. Talk with you supervisor and your peers for feedback on your participation. Employees from all divi- sions are needed. Read Jack Harris' accom- panying article (page 11) on what a peer supporter does. Though this all sounds like "the right thing to do," repeatedly we have found su- pervisors reluctant to allow employees to respond to callouts due to their own staffing shortages, the inability to receive backfill/ overtime monies, and a misunderstanding of the program. It is indeed hard to empa- thize with a park that is bemoaning a heavy poaching season in their reluctance to re- lease a patrol ranger to cover a park experi- encing a line of duty death. We hope educa- tion about the benefits of CISM will in- crease the support of the program through- out the Service. Despite the frustrations that occasionally occur, most peer supporters can speak to the positive effects they have seen the program produce. Being a peer supporter is stressful in itself. These employees are not immune from their own personal stresses and take on the role of listener to others. Yet many currently involved in the program have done so for years with few asking to drop out. A memorable quote from a South Florida park employee who sat in the devastated shell of her house during an initial visit from an NPS peer support and employee assis- tance team was, "I never felt so relieved as when I saw those green and gray uniforms coming up my walk." We talk a lot about the Park Service family. The NPS Critical Incident Stress Management program — employee initi- ated and employee maintained — puts ac- tions behind that slogan. • Pat Buccello is a special agent in the Intermountain Region and CISM program manager. She is stationed in Zion Na- tional Park. RANGER: WINTER 1998-99 3 RANGER: THE JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL PARK RANGERS Is Yourlncident Critical? T Setting up a Park CISM Plan By Sherrie Collins Grand Canyon Assisted by Rick Obernesser Yellowstone he National Park Service Critical Incident Stress Management program is ^ ^ ^ ^ _ ^ much more than conduct- ing debriefmgs after tragic events. Its an employee driven wellness program designed to help each of us stay pro- ductive and positive in both our per- sonal and professional lives. The program is not magic or psychobabble nor is it complicated or fancy. The program is about each of us learning positive coping strategies for stress; validating our thoughts and emotions about overwhelming trauma or loss. Its about ac- tually listening to our friends neighbors peers and employees and supervisors. What makes a critical incident? A critical incident can come in many shapes, sizes and forms. It is any situation where one comes face to face with their vulnerability or sense of mortality. These situations often have a deep emotional im- pact, on the individuals involved and can potentially overwhelm their ability to cope. Based on this definition, critical incidents can be large and impact an entire park staff, ie, a natural disaster, or a very personal event such as the loss of a loved one. Char- acteristics of a critical incident include an event which is sudden and unexpected, loss of one's sense of control, disrupts our be- liefs, values and basic assumptions con- cerning how the world works. The incident may involve the perception of a life damag- ing threat and may include elements of physical or emotional loss. Any park can be impacted by a critical incident, experience an employee fatality, see cumulative stress build up in their work force. Every park should have a critical incident stress management program em- braced by both park management and indi- vidual employees. Otherwise it's doomed to failure. A good CISM and peer support program should include the following ac- tivities/resources: ^* Stress management training V Peer support personnel from all divi- sions V Referral list of counseling services V Informal defusings ^ Family liaison ^ Death notification ^* Spousal support V Formal debriefing capabilities' Preplan . . . Preplan . . . Preplan One of biggest problems facing parks today is lack of pre-planning for critical incidents in their park. When you are "up to your neck in alligators," it's too late to learn to swim. One important manual you will need is the "Agency Administrator's Guide to Criti- cal Incidents." This manual was distributed to each park in June 1996. If you can't locate it in your park, try the Fire Management Office; the National Wildfire Coordination Group produced the manual. Use this manual as a guide in developing your plan or stan- dard operating procedures. If you can't find, you can order it. Information on ordering can be found at the end of the article. Here's a checklist of critical incident prep work that should be done beforehand: ^ Determine what type of peer support program your park needs. This needs as- sessment should be based on types of inci- dents seen in the past, potential for disas- ters, resources available. V Conduct training for all employees in stress management and critical incident stress awareness. Once your SOP for CISM is in place, review it during in-service training. ^ Decide if your park needs an in-house CISM team or will you rely on out of park resource. V Contact the EAP providers in your local area and find out what specific re- sources they have available (CISM, grief counseling, victim assistance). Interview them and assess their capabilities/interest. V Contact local CISM resources and find how to activate a CISM team if you need one. There are state and regional CISM teams all over the country and many parks are regularly using excellent local resources to help them solve problems. ICISF (Inter- national Critical Incident Stress Founda- tion) is a good starting point for finding teams. Another starting point would be your state EMS or emergency service office. Consider establishing a MOU or MOA for RANGER: WINTER 1998-99 4 .9- D . C <D RANGER: THE JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL PARK RANGERS the services. Most of these teams are volun- teer-based and do not charge but paying for travel expenses, etc., can be helpful. ^ Know how to activate the NPS na- tional CISM team. Here are some tips in developing your CISM/ Peer Support program: All mental health professionals are not the same This is a common pitfall, especially when you initiate a CISM response from the EAP. Look up the local resources for the EAP in your area and find out if they have CISM trained mental health professionals. If they do, invite them out to meet the park staff. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in providing a CISM service is assuming that all mental health professionals can conduct CISM defusings and debriefings. This is not true. Mental health counselors, regard- less of the letters after their name, must have specialized training. And they should have an idea of what NPS employees do for a living. That's why the pre-visit is so impor- tant in establishing rapport and credibility. If the mental health professional doesn't "click" with the employees and the peer supporters don't bridge that gap the pro- gram will fail. If the EAP can't provide the service, look elsewhere. What resources are local and regional CISM teams using? Once you find a good mental health professional, nurture them! They are worth their weight in gold. Peer support, not peer counseling We have moved away from the term peer counseling toward peer support, emphasiz- ing to managers and peer supporters them- selves that we are not in the business of counseling. Our role is to provide support and help to fellow employees. This help includes guiding an employee in need to a mental health care professional. Peer sup- port staff are not a substitute for a profes- sional psychologist. Our experience indi- cates park employees will seek out peer support staff to help deal with problems that are not at all related to critical incidents. This may include significant and serious personal issues. Peer Support staff listen without judgment, maintain confidential- ity, and help clarify issues and help friends and co-workers through problem solving only when appropriate. Peer supporters must understand their own limitations and know when to guide the employee to a professional counselor. CISM is not just a "ranger thing" Your Peer Support program should encom- pass the entire park staff. Many people think that critical incidents are the result of big traumatic emergency events and only im- pact public safety person- nel, but critical incidents ex- tend beyond di- vision bound- aries. Disasters, e m p l o y e e deaths are ex- amples of events that im- pact all em- ployees. Peer support person- nel should be selected from all divisions. Stress manage- ment training should be pro- vided for all employees in order to develop good stress mitigation skills. This includes manage- ment. Frequently managers, whether they are superintendents, division chiefs, or inci- dent commanders, feel it's inappropriate to be included in defusings or debriefings be- cause employees will not be open in their expression of emotion. And although there may be times when this argument has some merit, managers still need an opportunity to defuse their stress as well. We have seen tremendous benefit when superintendents come to share their feelings with their em- ployees and listen to impact felt by the event. CISM is not an emergency Immediate notification to the national team resource leaders of a critical incident is important however; having a team mobi- lized to your park within 12 hours may not be appropriate. People are usually raw after a critical incident and may not be ready to re-experience the whole event within the first 24 hours. Debriefings are most effec- tive post 48 -72 hours. People are rested, have processed the event and are better able to share thoughts, emotions and impacts they are experiencing. Defusings are informal gatherings of people directly involved in a critical inci- dent for the purpose of exploring initial impacts or venting and providing stress edu- cation. A defusing is a modified version of a debriefing and usually lasts 20 minutes to an hour. It is best done within one to two hours after the incident. It can be led by one trained peer support person who was not involved with the incident. Defusings are not effective and therefore, not recom- mended for disaster incidents. With the awareness training that has taken place concerning critical incident stress, many employees have learned that the shar- ing or venting of emotions after an incident is helpful and therapeutic. As a result of this change in public safety personnel, many mangers will see employees displaying raw emotions post incident. This does not nec- essarily mean that the employee is not cop- ing or is in crisis. Quite the contrary. We worry more about the employees that shrug off a critical incident as no big deal. Venting of emotions is our goal. It often comes in (continued on page 10) RANGER: WINTER 1998-99 5 I RANGER: THE JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL PARK RANGERS Outreach Spreading the Word about Peer Support and CISM T By Erran Seaman Olympic National Park he two young firefighters in the front row sat looking up at me. They had buzz-cuts and tattoos. I took a deep breath and started my talk. "I read a story on the back page of the newspaper a couple of months ago. It was about an area in China where every person is given a teacup when they are born. They keep it their whole life. Every time it gets broken, chipped or cracked, it is mended with gold. So it gets more valuable by being broken. Isn't that a great metaphor for our own human life? Stressful events are pain- ful, but are not 'bad;' the work of repairing ourselves after difficulties makes us wiser, more mature and more valuable people." Under his breath, one of the tough-look- ing firefighters said "Cool!" I sighed with relief. This audience was with me. They didn't think I was some dork talking about "touchy-feely" stuff! I am new to the NPS Peer Support and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) program. And what's more, I am not even a ranger, I am a biologist at Olympic National Park. I became involved with CISM after one of my employees lost her life on the job. The technicians who work on my field re- search frequently do wilderness search-and- rescue work in the park because of their expert off-trail hiking and navigation skills. That is how three of my employees came to be on the search helicopter that crashed in September 1998, and I first learned about the CISM program. I was impressed with the program, and with the fact that the Park Service cares enough about its employees to support CISM. After I took the basic CISM training last March, I wanted to expand employees' awareness of the program. So, for seasonal training I put together a one-hour presenta- tion that I called "Stress Management: Heal- ing Your Fractures With Gold." My goals were: 1) to help seasonal employees identify stress in their jobs and lives; 2) to give them tools for handling stress themselves, and 3) to let them know about the support that is available (peer supporters, EAP). The pre- sentation was oriented more toward indi- vidual health and strategies than toward major incidents. I used a variety of techniques to actively involve the audience in the presentation, and sprinkled the talk with anecdotes from my personal experience to help make it more real. After a brief introduction, I gave everyone a pencil and a copy of the Holmes Stress Test so they could privately assess the level of stress in their personal lives. Then I went to a flip chart and asked them to iden- tify stresses that were specifically related to their jobs. This groundwork validated their perceptions of stress and assured them that the NPS and the peer support network care about their well-being. Next I described nine things they can do to deal effectively with stress (see page 8). I also talked about critical incidents, critical incident stress and how to talk to co-workers who are affected by stress. I wrapped up by describing the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) — what it is and how to use it. In conclusion I said, "You are almost guaranteed to encounter emotionally stress- ful situations in your job this summer. You have a choice of how to deal with them. Ignoring the feelings will probably impair your ability to function in the future; pro- cessing the feelings will help you grow. Depending on how big the stresses are for you, you may choose to use different re- sources to process them: friends, trained peer supporters or professionals. This is the gold for mending those cracks!" The notes, handouts, and overheads I used for this talk are available to anyone who wants to use them or modify them for their own training sessions. Peer support is a valuable part of this (continued on page 8) CRITICA] (INCIDENT WF TEMPORARILY OVEF NPS Resources 1. Long Term Incident: disaster; major incident 2. Ongoing Incident 3. Agency Specific needs • line of duty death • media exposure • internal invest; etc. 1. On scene safety oversight on long term events 2. Group defusings/debriefings 3. Mental Health contract assistar 4. Liaison w/local CISM 5. Logistical Support • funeral protocols • employee benefits • backfill arrangements • spousal support • grief education 6. Family Liaison 7. One on One Peer Support Contact: NPS CISM Manager CISM Resource Unit Leai SHEN Dispatch (see NPS contact numbers on page! RANGER: WINTER 1998-99 Incident Occurs 6 RANGER: THE JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL PARK RANGERS CISM FLOW CHART ;H /HELMS) WHICH CTSM RESOURCE TO USE Local Outside Team EAP Red Cross Salvation Army 1. Prior Association w/park 2. Availability/appropriateness of non-NPS peers? 3. Usually only called for Emergency Services Incident 1. CISM Trained? WHAT THEY CAN PROVIDE 1. Group defusings/debriefings 2. Mental health professional on short term basis 1. Disaster- physical & mental support services 2. Some are CISM trained 1. Counseling 2. Suicide Issues 1. Group Counseling 2. FEMA, etc. paperwork assistance Contact: State EMS Office Contact: EAP Contractor Contact: State Red Cross Office RANGER: WINTER 1998-99 NON-CRITICAL (ONGOING SUBSTANCE ABUSE FINANCIAL/LEGAL ISSUES SUPERVISORY ISSUES. ETC) Contact EAP "S 7 RANGER: THE JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL PARK RANGERS Case Incident: Badlands By William R. Supernaugh Badlands National Park "It is my sad duty to inform you that two of our friends and co-workers have been killed. Wiebka Marks and Damn Harvey were found earlier this morning, victims of a double homicide." With these words, I began a hastily con- vened all-employee meeting at Badlands National Park the day after Memorial Day, Tuesday, May 27, 1997. Shortly thereafter, the wheels were set in motion, which pro- vided valuable insight into the application of critical incident stress management in the workplace under real-time conditions. We recognized an immediate need to provide an outlet for grief and anger but were unsure where to turn for this service. Initially, the park contacted the Pennington County Sheriffs Office, which was known to have a well-established Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) program in place. Later that same morning, we had arranged with Dr. Fred Magnavito, a li- censed mental health care professional and consultant to Pennington County, who also serves as a clinical psychiatrist at Fort Mead Veterans Administration Hospital, to meet with park staff and offer general counseling and grief-coping strategies. Dr. Magnavito suggested including Mount Rushmore Park Ranger Andy Fisher, who also served on the Pennington County CISM team. With the initial arrangements set up, management staff turned to the myriad of details that were beginning to crop up. In no particular order these included liaison with the Pennington County Investigators responsible for cover- ing the crime scene, locating and providing security for Damn's defensive equipment, notification of next of kin, researching sur- vivor benefits for the families of the slain employees, coordinating memorial services with the two families, coping with the mul- titude of questions and personal reactions that swept through the park staff and many, many more items that seemed to arise with the passing of every hour. During the course of informing the Mid- west Regional Office of the death of two employees, Ranger Activities Specialist John Townsend inquired as to our prepara- tions for providing counseling and support for the park community. He gently insisted to me that while our initial steps were in the right direction, perhaps we needed to broaden the scope of our assistance program. As I agreed to JT's suggestion, I asked myself, "What am I letting us in for?" The answer, it turned RANGER: WINTER 1998-99 8 program, and employees should know about the support that is available before a major incident occurs. Good daily habits (conflict resolution, stress management, how to handle the stress of critical incidents while they are happening, etc.) can prevent issues from growing into serious problems. • Erran Seaman is a biologist at Olympic National Park. Stress Strategies Talk about your experiences. This is the most basic and important thing you can do. Just saying things out loud can help you to see things in a new light or come up with solutions to problems. A listener can also provide insight. But the main job of a listener is to let you talk. Eat well. Give your body what it needs to take care of itself so you don't get more run down. Share meals with other people as much as possible. Plan. Having a written plan and proceeding one step at a time keeps life feeling managable. Disorganization, confusion, too many projects ... feels overwhelming. Get moderate exercise. Although it takes energy to get going, it gives you more back. Exercise is one of the best mood-boosters, it is a natural anti-depressant. But avoid competition which is stress-inducing. Act positive, tolerant, and forgiving. Give praise to others and yourself, look for the positive. Avoid criticising. You will feel better, and people around you will feel better! Intolerance, a negative attitude and blame increase frustration and anger. Forgive others for their shortcomings. Do your best and forgive yourself for being imperfect. Recognize and accept your limits. Set reasonable goals and expectations for yourself, and you will feel better as you attain them. Unrealistic expectations lead to more stress as you are unable to live up to them. Relax, rest, and play. Yoga, meditation, fun... all reduce stress. Get adequate sleep, usually eight hours a night. Insufficient sleep increases the risk of getting sick. Avoid alcohol and drugs. Since these make the symptoms of stress go away, it is tempting to believe that the stress is gone when it really is not. As a result, it is easy to stop talking about issues and fail to heal or grow. Using drugs or alcohol to deal with stress is like mending the china teacup with chewing gum! « Help others. Listening to others and doing things to help them out can be very healing for yourself. But be careful not to hide your own difficulties behind helping others; keep talking about what's going on with you too. RANGER: THE JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL PARK RANGERS out, was not long in coming! By the following morning, Wednesday, May 28, Team Leader Andy Fisher who, as it turned out, was not only part of the local CISM organization but the Servicewide net- work as well - arrived at Badlands with Tom Casey from Jewel Cave. Soon after, Rangers Martha Dwyer and Ed Dunlavey from Grand Tetons and Connie Cox from Lake Roosevelt arrived. The sixth member of the CISM team, Pete Reinhardt, arrived from Crater Lake that evening. The team conducted an initial needs assessment with me and Chief Ranger Scott Lopez, quickly determining that intervention sessions pro- viding general information about the inci- dent and general CISM techniques should be available upon request or at the discre- tion of the team members as they felt neces- sary. Team members also contacted the immediate families of both victims, con- tacts they maintained throughout the as- signment. While impressed by the team's initial response and sympathetic ear, I frankly had limited expectations or foreseeable out- comes in mind An early step taken was placing Dr. Magnavito in a sub-contractor position with the Employee Assistance Program, thus in- suring his availability and appropriate com- pensation. A general debriefing session was conducted on Wednesday for members of the Protection Division who were initial responders to the incident. By early Thursday, intervention sessions were scheduled with employees from each organizational unit. These continued through Friday afternoon with 96 percent (67 out of 70) of the park staff availing themselves of the sessions. In addition, the team con- ducted a Critical Stress Debriefing session for the Wall ambulance team who had re- sponded to the crime scene and transported not only the victims but the assailant who was comatose from a self-inflicted wound. The park, just entering its heavy use season with an already understaffed law enforcement program, now tragically re- duced even further, was bolstered by the arrival on May 30 of Park Rangers Eric Haugland from Scotts Bluff and Greg Hoffman from Theodore Roosevelt. The use of detailed personnel to augment the visitor service and law enforcement pro- grams provided a timely breather for an already burdened park staff. RANGER: WINTER 1998-99 The team served in yet another way by accepting responsibility for providing liai- son and support between Darrin and Wiebke's families — now onsite — and the park during the ensuing days up to and immediately after the two separate commu- nity funeral services on June 2 and 4 and a parkwide memorial service and tree dedica- tion conducted in the headquarters complex on June 5. In retrospect I could not have anticipated how much I grew to depend on Andy and his team to attend to the many details of the incident while freeing up park management and support staff to continue with the busi- ness of running the park and meeting visitor expectations. Too, 1 could not have antici- pated in the early stages of the response just how important it would later prove to be, to have an adequate number of skilled peer counselors available to reach out to the entire staff in a short period of time. I truly believe that those intervention sessions and follow up individual counseling sessions helped maintain our collective sanity then and in the months to follow. As part of my delegation to the team, I asked for a completed after-action report, to include a manager's guide for future such incidents and recommendations for Bad- lands National Park to better prepare itself for future CISM responses. The ensuing document has proven to be an important item in our subsequent efforts to become betterprepared. Cross divisional PeerCoun- selor training for staff; identification of an available on-call mental health care profes- sional; development and updating of local resource lists for CISM team members; and broader use of regional resources to provide backfill for employees who may need to take time off were the primary recommen- dations offered by the report. I cannot adequately express the gratitude we feel to the individual members of the team, their supervisors and superintendents, and the staff of the Midwest Regional Of- fice that helped coordinate and pay for the CISM response. Thank you to all. The manager who believes "it can't hap- pen here" is naive and the CISM plan that sits on the shelf unread and untested is worse than no plan at all for it harbors a false sense of security. I speak from experience; Bill Supernaugh is superintendent at Bad- lands National Park. Stress and Politics By Mary Martin Mojave National Preserve 9 September 19, 1995, the day poli- tics became reality. I had spent the day in the park and, since we were too new to have cell phones, radios, etc., the park staff had been unable to contact me with the startling news. That evening, Marv Jensen, our Superintendent, called me at home with the devastation news— the Department of the Interior Appro- priations Bill had come out of confer- ence committee with a SI budget for Mojave National Preserve. This was unexpected. We naively convinced ourselves that logic and good reason would prevail with the confer- ence committee. Remember 1995? A change in parties in the Senate and House, furloughs, ANWR deauth- orization, EPA fighting for its life? The House bill carried Congressman Jerry Lewis'(R-Calif) $1 rider, the Senate bill did not; in conference, we fully expected the rider to disappear. Lewis transferred our anticipated budget to the BLM to manage our nation' s newest park unit, leaving SI for the NPS, in July. After the bill came our of confer- ence, our only hope was a Presidential veto which, now that we were dealing with Washington politics from the po- litical reality, seemed impossible. Marv needed to immediately leave for Wash- ington, D.C. Starting a new park is exciting, but emotional exhausting. Among the many things occupied the staff was the per- sonal trauma (even under the best of circumstances) of everyone uprooting and moving families. In fact, just that morning our administrative officer shared the exciting news of his new home purchase . . . complete with golf cart. After Marv's call I instinctively, for some reason I'll never quite understand, called Rick Gale and asked for a CISM team. Those that know Rick can predict his reaction — Martin, if you need the team, the best are on their way. Right he was — Pat Buccello and Rick Obernesser were in route the next day. RANGER: THE JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL PARK RANGERS Why did I think we needed the CISM team? That question still puzzles me. In our short existence we managed to put together a great team. The Mojave staff was (and is!) top notch, but many were (are) also indepen- dent, hard-chargers. I expected the reaction to a CISM team to be met with a certain degree of resistance, if not cynicism; per- haps a manifestation of my own feelings. I knew most of the staff was in the midst of dealing with their move; children not set- tling into their new environment, spouses still looking for employment, houses just purchased or in the purchase process. Now to be potentially without ajob faced with an unknown future, losing a park we loved, was too much to expect of any individual. I had never been an enthusiastic sup- porter or champion of the CISM. My previ- ous peripheral experience had involved counselors who were in the program or selected for the program for all the wrong reasons. Sure, some of my best friends have worked hard on establishing the NPS team. I could understand its value in traumatic situations, such as natural disasters; but I was, at best, a skeptic and braced myself for the staff reaction. The next morning as we were coming together in disbelief, I told the staff that Pat and Rick were in route. Much to my sur- prise, there was full support and no skepti- cism. John Reynolds (then deputy director) called with Bruce Shaeffer and Maureen Finnerty to offer support and encourage- ment. Maureen came to Mojave the next day. Pat and Rick showed up and immediately went to work, professionally handling the situation. They met with employees, spouses and families. The feedback I began receiv- NATURE WATCH 1998 Catalog Programs, Games, Puzzles, Boo...

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