The Butte County Fire Rescue's Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team was formed and began in 1987, making it one of the very first C.I.S.D. teams in California. Initially it was composed of only firefighters, but as the value it provided began to be seen, it grew to encompass almost all of the fire departments and law enforcement agencies in Butte County and the Willows Fire Department in Glenn County, thus prompting the name change to the Butte Glenn Emergency Services Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team. Through the years the team has provided assistance to almost 2000 emergency service personnel and on occasion has provicded modified debriefing to the civilian population.
A critical incident is any emergency incident that goes beyond ones normal coping ability. Examples are death of co-workers, especially line of duty deaths, mass casualty situations and tragic deaths of children. It has been demonstrated that after a critical incident, emergency personnel can suffer depression, which can actually lead to family break-ups and loss of employment. The goal of a debriefing is to prevent this by allowing those individuals involved, a chance to ventilate their reactions to the incident and allow them to get back to work as soon as possible in a better frame of mind possible. C.I.S.D. teams are now considered a necessary part of any professional fire department that places importance on the emotional well being of their employees.
Butte's C.I.S.D. team is composed of men and women, both paid and volunteer, in the fields of mental health, fire fighting, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and search and rescue. The team also consists of clergy. It can be reached at any time through its hot line number or through the B.C.F.D.'s emergency command center. If you would like more informatioin on this team you can contact the Butte County Fire Department's Public Information Officer at (530) 538-7111.