Debriefing red cross disaster personnel: The multiple stressor debriefing model

Authors

  • Keith Armstrong,

    1. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Program, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (116-P), 4150 Clement Street, San Francisco, California 94121; and The Stress Treatment Center, San Francisco, California
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  • William O'Callahan,

    1. San Mateo County Regional Manager, American Red Cross, Burlingame, California
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  • Charles R. Marmar

    1. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Program, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California; and Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco
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Abstract

During the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, Red Cross disaster personnel were involved in providing services which put them at risk for developing stress reactions including Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. This article describes the disaster relief effort in San Francisco and Oakland made by Red Cross workers and the debriefing which was provided to these personnel. Mitchell's Model for Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) was modified to fit the broad spectrum of needs and stresses experienced by disaster relief personnel. The Multiple Stressor Debriefing Model (MSDM) which evolved from this experience is discussed with specific recommendations for mental health workers involved in Debriefing Red Cross and other emergency personnel who face multiple stressors over an extended period of relief operations.

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