What is a Critical Incident?
"A critical incident is any incident or sequence of events which overwhelms the normal coping mechanism of the school and disrupts the running of the school."
- Death, major illness/outbreak of disease (Foot & Mouth).
- Criminal incidents (e.g. Dunblane shooting, Shooting at First Communion in Ballymun.)
- Major accidents, serious injury (e.g. ‘Navan bus crash’).
- Civil unrest, war (foreign nationals may be traumatised by events that happened in their home country).
- Fire, natural and technological disaster (e.g. school ceiling collapsing in Cork).
- Disappearance of student from home or school (e.g. Midleton incident in Cork).
- Unauthorised removal of student from school or home.
Critical Incidents Management Team :
Leadership Role: Mr. Phil Mc Caul (Principal)
Communication Role: Ms. Bernadette Carr
Student Liaison/ Counseling Role: Mr. Phil Mc Caul/ Mrs Adele Clune
Chaplaincy Role: Fr. Magnus
Family Liaison Role: Mrs. Clune
Parents Association Rep: Mrs. Andrea Mulligan
B.O.M. Rep: Mrs. Sile Holland
N.E.P.S: Miss Yvonne Kennedy
The first-named person has the responsibility as defined.
The second-named person assists and only assumes responsibility on the absence of the first-named.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Confirm the event.
- Activate the Critical Incident response team.
- Express sympathy to family.
- Clarify facts surrounding event.
- Make contact with other relevant agencies.
- Decide how news will be communicated to different groups (staff, pupils, outside school).
- Ensure provision of ongoing support to staff and students.
- Facilitate any appropriate memorial events.
- Review Plan.
- With Team, prepare a public statement.
- Organise a designated room to address media promptly.
- Ensure telephone lines are free for outgoing and important incoming calls.
- Liaise with relevant outside support agencies.
- Review and evaluate effectiveness of communication response.
Student Liaison/ Counseling Role:
- Outline specific services available in school.
- Put in place clear referral procedures.
- Address immediate needs of staff.
- Provide information.
- Provide counseling.
- Provide ongoing support to vulnerable students.
- Monitor class most affected.
- Refer on, as appropriate.
- Review and evaluate Plan.
Chaplaincy Role :
- Visit home(s), if appropriate.
- Assist with prayer services.
- Make contact with other local clergy.
- Be available as personal and spiritual support to staff.
- Provide follow-up support to families in conjunction with Home School Community Liaison.
- Work in partnership with Religious Education team.
- Review and Evaluate Plan.
Family Liaison Role:
- Coordinate contact with families (following first contact by Principal).
- Consult with family around involvement of school in e.g. funeral service.
- Assist with all communication dealing with parents of any student affected by critical incident.
- Provide ongoing support to families affected by the incident.
- Involve as appropriate family in-school liturgies/memorial services.
- Offer to link family with community support groups.
- Review and evaluate plan.
SHORT-TERM ACTIONS (Day 1)
- Immediate contact with family/families.
- Consult with the family regarding appropriate support from the school, e.g. funeral service.
- Ensure that a quiet place can be made for students/staff.
- Rooms will made be made available as follows:
- Room 23
- Individual Meetings: Room 8
- Parents: Hall
SHORT TERM ACTIONS - DAY 1
|TASK||NAME (Key and Support)|
|Gather Accurate Information.||Relevant Staff and Witnesses (Accidents)|
|Contact Appropriate Agencies.||Mr. Mc Caul & Ms. Carr|
|Convene a Staff Meeting.||Mr. Mc Caul|
|Arrange Supervision of Students.||Mrs. Clune|
|Hold Staff Meeting.||All Staff|
|Organise Timetable for the Day.||Ms. Carr|
|Inform Parents.||Mr. Mc Caul|
|Inform Students.||Mr. Mc Caul|
|Make contact with bereaved family.||Mr. Mc Caul/Fr. O’Hagan|
|Dealing with the Media.||Mr. McCaul/Mrs Clune|
Media Briefing: (if appropriate)
- Designate a spokesperson. (Leader)
- Prepare a brief statement. (Team)
- Protect the family’s privacy.
- Gather accurate information.
- It is important to obtain accurate information about the incident.
- What happened, where and when?
- What is the extent of the injuries?
- How many are involved and what are their names?
- Is there a risk of further injury?
- What agencies have been contacted already?
- Contact appropriate agencies.
- Emergency services.
- Medical services.
- H.S.E. Psychology Departments/Community Care Services.
- D.E.S./Schools Inspector.
- Convene a meeting with Key Staff/Critical Management Team (8.30a.m.)
- Organize a staff meeting, if appropriate. (9.00 a.m.)
- Organize timetable/routine for the day. (Adhering to the normal school routine is important, if this is possible).
- Class teachers to take note of any absentees who might need to be contacted, list of friends etc, or any other relevant information and give to the Student Liaison person.
- Arrange supervision of students
- Liaise with the family regarding funeral arrangements/memorial service.
- The Chaplain/ Principal will liaise with the family, to extend sympathy and clarify the family’s wishes regarding the school’s involvement in funeral/memorial service.
- Arrange a home visit by two staff representatives within 24 hours, if appropriate. (Student Liaison person + Class teacher)
- Have regard for different religious traditions and faiths.
MEDIUM-TERM ACTIONS (24-72 HOURS)
- Preparation of students/staff attending funeral.
- Involvement of students/staff in liturgy if agreed by bereaved family.
- Facilitation of students’/staffs’ responses, e.g. Sympathy cards, flowers, book of condolences, etc.
- Ritual within the school.
- Review the events of the first 24 hours.
- Reconvene Key Staff/Critical Incident Management Team (8.30 a.m.)
- Decide arrangements for support meetings for parents/students/staff.
- Decide on mechanism for feedback from teachers on vulnerable students.
- Have review of Critical Incident Management Team meeting. (3.00 p.m.)
- Establish contact with absent staff and pupils.
- Arrange support for individual students, groups of students, and parents, if necessary.
- Hold support/information meeting for parents/students, if necessary, in order to clarify what has happened.
- Give any teacher who feels uncomfortable with involvement in support meetings the choice of opting out.
- Arrange, in consultation, with outside agencies, individual or group debriefings or support meetings with parental permission. Permission slips to be included with enrolment forms.
- Plan for the re-integration of students and staff e.g. absentees, injured, siblings, close relative etc).
- Student Liaison person to liaise with above on their return to school.
- Plan visits to injured.
- Family Liaison person + Class Teacher + Principal to visit home/hospital.
- Attendance and participation at funeral/memorial service (To be decided).
- Decide this in accordance with parents’ wishes and school management decisions and in consultation with close school friends.
- School closure (if appropriate).
- Request a decision on this from school management.
MEDIUM TERM ACTIONS - 24 – 72 HRS
|Review the events of the first 24 hours.||Staff|
|Arrange support for individual/groups of students/parents.||Mr. Phil Mc Caul Mrs Adele Clune|
|Plan the re-integration of staff and students.||″|
|Plan visits to the injured.||″|
|Liaise with family re funeral. Arrange memorial service.||Mrs. Clune/Fr. O’Hagan|
|Attendance/Participation at funeral service etc.||Staff/Fr. O’Hagan|
LONGER TERM ACTIONS
- Monitor students for signs of continuing distress.
- If, over a prolonged period of time, a student continues to display the following, he/she may need assistance from the Health Board.
- Uncharacteristic behaviour.
- Deterioration in academic performance.
- Physical symptoms - e.g. weight loss/gain, lack of attention to appearance, tiredness, restlessness.
- Inappropriate emotional reactions.
- Increased absenteeism.
- Evaluate response to incident and amend Critical Incident Management Plan appropriately.
- What went well?
- Where were the gaps?
- What was most/least helpful?
- Have all necessary onward referrals to support services been made?
- Is there any unfinished business?
- Formalise the Critical Incident Plan for the future
- Consult with N.E.P.S. Psychologist.
- Inform new staff/new school pupils affected by Critical Incidents where appropriate.
- Ensure that new staff is aware of the school policy and procedures in this area.
- Ensure they are aware of which pupils were affected in any recent incident and in what way.
- When individual pupils or a class of pupils affected by an incident are transferring to a new school, the Principal should brief the Principal of the new school.
- Decide on appropriate ways to deal with anniversaries (Be sensitive to special days and events)
- Anniversaries may trigger emotional responses in students/staff and they may need additional support at this time.
- Acknowledge the anniversary with the family.
- Be sensitive to significant days like Birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day.
- Plan a school memorial service.
- Care of deceased person’s possessions. What are the parent’s wishes?
- Update and amend school records.
|Monitor Students for signs of continuing stress.||Staff|
|Evaluate response to incident and amend C.I. Plan appropriately.||Staff|
|Formalise C.I. Plan for the future.||Ms. Carr|
|Inform new staff/pupils.||Mr. Mc Caul /Class teacher|
|Decide on appropriate ways to deal with anniversaries.||Staff|
|Plan school memorial service.||Staff/Fr. O’Hagan|
|Care of deceased person’s possessions.||Class teacher/ Mrs. Adele Clune|
|Update and amend school records.||Mrs. Clune|