Critical stress debriefing offers help to Good Samaritans following Humboldt Broncos crash

By Charlene Tebbutt
April 13, 2018 - 5:32pm

Last week’s fatal crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team saw an immediate outpouring of support and grief around the world, and locally, efforts are ongoing to provide information and help to the good Samaritans who were among the first at the scene.

A critical incident stress debriefing (CISD) took place Thursday night in Tisdale for area residents and passersby who helped at the scene following the fatal collision April 6 involving the Humboldt Broncos and a semi-tractor trailer. The evening session was the second of two this week to provide support and information to those who were among the first to respond in the area.

About 21 people attended the evening session in Tisdale Thursday. Rick Peters, director of health and safety for the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said an earlier session was held in the afternoon on Wednesday, and a second session was then planned for those who may not have been able to attend during the day.

The critical incident debriefing session included a team of mental health and social workers who gave information about how to get help following the tragic crash. Peters said it is important to give people the opportunity to talk and share their experiences in a private setting with health professionals following a traumatic incident.

 “They can experience sadness, they certainly experience all sorts of the whole range of emotional experiences,” Peters said.

“The important part of the CISD experience is to ground them, is to provide them with some information about reassuring them that what they’re experiencing is normal.”

Emergency personnel, including EMS, fire and police, have also been offered support and counselling services as they deal with the effects of being on scene at the collision. But, the homeowners and passersby who also responded may not have training in emergency situations and responding to the Humboldt Broncos collision site was likely terrifying, Peters said.

“These were good folks who did the right thing and stopped and provided assistance where they could,” he added.

“These were the folks that responded at the sight and were part of the response … they were there (and) provided assistance while EMS, fire, RCMP arrived at the scene.”

The Saskatchewan RCMP said a number of civilians were helping at the scene as emergency crews began to arrive following the collision last Friday evening. In an emailed statement to paNOW, the RCMP said several passing motorists and people who live nearby were among the first to provide help.

“They helped with initial traffic control, assisting and comforting victims and providing critical information to emergency personnel as they arrived,” RCMP said.

“The RMCP would like to express our sincere gratitude to those who provided assistance in those first hours.”

In the days and weeks that follow the fatal bus crash, Peters said it is imperative for anyone experiencing traumatic symptoms to seek help. Information and support can be found through the Saskatchewan Health Authority, mobile crisis units, victims services and mental health organizations, and over the phone by calling the province’s health information line at 8-1-1. Health officials are also encouraging people to seek out informal supports if they are in need, through their church or spiritual providers, family, friends and community.

“There may be a delay in their experiences, and if a week down the road, or two weeks down the road, they begin to experience symptoms, call for help,” Peters added.


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On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt

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