Dr. Scott & FDNY/IAFF Firefighter Support Team Leaders Share ‘Lessons Learned’ From 9/11

Dr. Scott & Firefighter Support Team Members Share Findings & Lessons Learned at 2003 ICISF World Congress on Stress

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, Dr. Scott and his LAFD CISM Team spent two weeks at Ground Zero providing crisis intervention and firefighter peer support as part of the 40 national CISM teams sent to Ground Zero by the IAFF/NFFF/FEMA Coalition.

Dr. Scott discussing "On-Scene Support"

Two years later Dr. Scott had the honor of presenting his experience and ‘lessons learned’ with other key IAFF/FDNY Firefighter Support Team Leaders at the 2003 World Congress on Stress and Coping in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. Scott’s portion of the panel presentation focused on the methods and  application of  Psychological First Aid (PFA)  “On-Scene” during the deployment to Ground Zero.

In summarizing one of the key lesson’s learned from his experience, Dr. Scott stated, “You can’t be intrusive or be looking to initiate emotional venting or other exchanges of feelings — On-scene support isn’t about opening up strong emotions and vulnerable feelings in the midst of being ‘on-duty’ in the rescue and recovery mode…It’s  more about a compassionate presence and caring approach to providing workers with whatever they are looking for… anything from basic needs, like cold water and food, to schmoozing about baseball and the weather.  Sometimes all we did was shake hands and ask if they needed anything…”

In addition to his 9/11 panel presentation at the World Congress, Dr. Scott also presented with Captain/PM  Mark Woolf from the Los Angeles Fire Department.  In their workshop entitled “The National EMS Stress Study: Climb Aboard,”  Captain Woolf and Dr. Scott challenged Fire and EMS Agencies throughout the nation and Canada to survey their members and develop criteria for assessing ‘cumulative stress overload.’ Additionally, the study proposes to test and develop innovative ways to help first responders better cope with the vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue.

Dr. Scott describes the 'On-Scene Support' interventions at Ground Zero during the Plenary Session

LAFD Captain/PM Mark Woolf challenges participants to join the National EMS Stress Study

Francis Gunn, ofm, CSW, Robert Scott, Ph.D., LAFD, Chief Joseph Krebbs, FDNY, John “Spike” Lawless, Cambridge Mass. Fire Department prepare to speak at the 2003 ICISF World Congress Plenary Session

IAFF/NFFF/FDNY Team Leaders and Firefigher Peer Support Team Members at the 2003 ICISF World Congress




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