CRITICAL INCIDENT CRITICAL INCIDENT

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1 Catholic Schools Office Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle Critical Incident Management Policy criticalincident incidentmanagement incidentmanagement INCIDENT INCIDENT INCI- D E N T S management critical incident MAY 1999

2 DIOCESE OF MAITLAND-NEWCASTLE INCIDENT POLICY 1. Rationale 1.1 It is the responsibility of all members of the Catholic School Community to collaborate in the provision of a caring environment. 1.2 In today's society people can be exposed to a crisis situation which could have serious effects on them. The school, by its very nature, is a major part of the student's social, cultural, spiritual and emotional environment. 1.3 A Critical Incident may be defined as an event which causes disruption to an organisation, creates significant danger or risk, and which creates a situation where staff, students and parents feel unsafe, vulnerable and under stress. 1.4 A sensitive awareness of the varying needs and circumstances of students, staff and families is important in such a crisis. Arising from the duty of care that Principals and staff owe to students for whom they have responsibility, planning for the management of an abnormal or critical incident is essential. 1.5 The early identification of, and preparation for a potential critical incident, or crisis, will help in creating a safe, supportive environment for students and staff members. Education, greater awareness and the ways in which crises can be managed require planning, rehearsal, and commitment. Providing support to staff and students is to empower them, and their families, to help themselves and to enhance their skills for future critical incident in their lives. 1.6 This Policy reflects the Diocesan Vision Statement especially those values which: "value the uniqueness and importance of each individual: "seek to nurture the whole person towards achieving full potential, recognising that Catholic education is a life-long process: "create communities characterised by acceptance, security, justice, happiness and an environment of growth". Examples of Critical Incident include: Serious injury, illness or death, including suicide, of a member of the school community Students or staff lost, or injured, on an excursion Students or staff being taken hostage Violent assault of a member of the school community Violent event in the local community, including terrorist activity Students or staff witnessing a serious accident or incident of violence Significant vandalism or destruction of part of the school property Fire, bomb threat, explosion, gas or chemical hazard, flood, earthquake, windstorm, hailstorm or extremes of temperature.

3 -2-2. Aims 2.1 This Policy aims to set direction for school policies, procedures and practices in developing a Critical Incident Management Policy. 2.2 Each school, in developing its own policies and procedures, should reflect this Diocesan Policy in seeking to achieve the following aims: To establish a Critical Incident Management Team as a vital element in planning to manage a critical incident To adequately assess hazards and situations which may require immediate action and analyse the requirements to address these hazards To establish liaison with all relevant emergency services To develop an effective management/action plan for each individual incident identified ensuring appropriate action and provision of support during and after the critical incident To disseminate planned procedures and organise practice drills to test the plans, as appropriate (e.g. fire evacuation). 3. Implementation 3.1 Each school needs to establish a Critical Incident Management Team and a Co-ordinator. (The Principal would normally be a member of the Team.) 3.2 Responsibilities of the Critical Incident Management Team should include: Development of a workable, management plan which is written, simple, disseminated and tested Adequate assessment of hazards and situations which may require emergency action (risk assessment) Analysis of requirements to address these hazards Establishment of liaison with all relevant emergency services Development of an effective management/action plan for each critical incident (this is a vital component) Dissemination of planned procedures and organisation of practice drills to test the plan Assisting with the implementation of the management plan Regular overview of the management plan Arranging staff development activities when necessary. 3.3 Features of the Management Plan should include: Provision of access to support services for affected community members Development of evacuation plans Periodic practice of evacuation plans Assignment of duties to school staff (emergency contact names and phone numbers should be known) Ensuring staff and students are familiar with emergency warnings (e.g. sirens) and procedures Provision of assistance to students with special needs Being prepared to provide a response to the media Determining the Local and State Government regulations and plans concerning disasters

4 Seeking advice and help from services such as Police, Fire Brigade and State Emergency Services Making contact with the nearest Hospital and Medical Services Centre Formulation of debriefing and counselling procedures Ensuring that there is provision in the plan for dissemination of information to parents and family members Informing the Catholic Schools Office Providing regular opportunities (at least yearly) for all staff to be kept informed of Critical Incident Management Plans Regularly reviewing (at least yearly) and updating management plans. 4. Procedures 4.1 Phases of a Critical Incident Management Plan are: Phase 1. Pre-Critical Incident Period. Preparation for an Incident by: Appointment of a Co-ordinator of a Critical Incident Management Team Establishment of a Critical Incident Management Team Establishment of a Critical Incident Management Plan Risk Assessment Phase 2. Intervention Period. Identification of the Critical Incident Implementation of procedures involving communication, spiritual response, provision of counselling opportunities and opportunities for discussion of the incident (Critical Incident Flow Chart for Immediate Action) * Contacting of Significant Persons * Implementation of Procedures (Critical Incident Flow Chart for ensuring Action) Conclusion of Implementation * Re-establishment of Boundaries * De-briefing : Parent and Staff Closure (Recovery Time-line Chart) Phase 3. Post-Intervention Period Monitoring On-going Grieving Evaluation of Critical Incident Management Plan/Team Roles 4.2 School Critical Incident Management Plan. This should have documentation and supplementary information for use in a Critical Incident and include: Outline of Managing a Critical Incident (Flowchart) Critical Incident Management Plan Check List Critical Incident Flowchart - Immediate Action Contacts for Significant Persons/Emergency Contact Numbers Critical Incident Flowchart - Ensuring Action Evacuation Plan Procedures Crisis Management Plan - Death, Suicide Bomb Threat Report Form Critical Incident Report Form Media Management in a Crisis Recovery Timeline

5 4.3 Additional Documentation and Supplementary Information may include: Critical Incident Management - A Guide for Teachers Possible Student Reactions to a Critical Incident Parent Information Letters Counselling Referral Form Student Fact Sheets Grief Awareness Suicide Information Preparation for a Funeral Prayer Koori Critical Incident Plan Staff Development - St Laurence Centre Critical Incident Management Inservice Course Budget The Catholic Schools Office will endeavour to devote a proportion of its budget to the provision of funds for the purchase and development of resources, and for professional development opportunities pertaining to Health, Safety and Welfare in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. 6. Evaluation This Policy will be initially evaluated after 12 months of its implementation, and thereafter every three years or as the need arises. Schools should adopt a similar time-frame in the evaluation of their policies. The evaluation process for a school's policy in Critical Incident Management should involve the Principal, Critical Incident Management Committee, teaching and ancillary staff, students and parents. The policy may be evaluated at staff meetings, through informal discussions, by survey, by feedback sheets, by other means and forums.

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