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Workshops aimed at coping with crises


Whether it’s people trapped in a burning building or a family who has just lost a loved one in an accident, professional firefighters, police officers, and others with “front line” professions can face a lot of stress on the job.

In response to that, the Rainy River Critical Incident Stress Management team has planned a set of workshops about dealing with crisis situations Oct. 17-19.

“Although anyone can attend, it’s a course mainly aimed at people on the front line—police, firefighters, ambulance attendants, hospital workers, mental heath professionals, crisis response workers, even those in the pulp and paper tourism industries,” said Dolores Beach, office manager at Riverside Community Counselling Services.

“If there’s been a disaster, these courses train them to respond and to deal with people who have been the victims of disaster,” she added.

While the deadline to register is next Tuesday (Sept. 17), Beach noted registrations likely still will be accepted until next Friday (Sept. 20).

The workshops, which will be held at La Place Rendez-Vous, consist of a 16-hour basic course, dealing with techniques like defusing, debriefing, and on-scene support, and a 14-hour individual crisis intervention/peer support course.

Cost is $140 for the first, $130 for the second, or you can sign up for both for $230. The basic course is not a pre-requisite for the peer support course.

Organizers are hopeful many people will sign up. “I think it would be beneficial for our community,” said Beach.

The courses will be taught by Det. Sgt. Glenda Shields and Geoffrey Hancock, a retired police officer.

Det. Sgt. Shields has provided debriefings as a result of the SwissAir crash of 1998, and for the New York Police Department following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

And Hancock, a 35-year police veteran, has spent 17 years in the forensic identification field, gaining experience in investigations involving line of duty deaths, multiple fatalities, debriefing for caregivers after major incidents, and death in recreational facilities.

Both are experience public speakers and instructors, approved by the International Critical Stress Incident Stress Foundation, and have taught these two courses since 1997.

For more information or to register, call Beach at 274-4807.

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