About Our Organization

Providing Crisis Intervention & Pre-Incident Education

The Durham Region Critical Incident Stress Support Team (DRCISST) is a voluntary, independent organization consisting of your peers, crisis response canines and mental health professionals; supported by police, fire, and paramedic service administrations and associations across Durham Region.

905-576-8711 EXT 33200


Our Organizations Purpose

Members are trained to provide a variety of crisis intervention services (individual, group) and pre-incident education to emergency personnel and their families. Training adheres to internationally recognized ICISF standards.

DRCISST is linked locally, provincially, nationally, and internationally – Ontario CISM Advisory Council, Canadian Critical Incident Stress Foundation; International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, ICISF Team Hotline Register.

In 2017 the DRCISST received International recognition by being presented with the “ICISF International Crisis Response Leadership Award” – An award presented to an individual/organization from outside of the U.S. for their significant impact within their home nation and/or nations throughout the world in the field of Crisis Response.

DRCISST is a registered charity.
Common Questions

A critical incident is any situation faced by emergency services personnel that causes them to experience unusually strong emotional and/or physical reactions which have the potential to interfere with their ability to function either at the scene or later.

A critical incident includes:
– Line of duty death
– Serious injury or death of a child
– Mass casualty incidents
– Suicides
– Prolonged or high powered events
– Natural disasters
– Working in dangerous situations
– The “shouldn’t have happened” calls
– Death of a civilian resulting from emergency service operations
– Incidents with unusual sights, sounds or odours
And many others…

A well-established team of emergency service workers volunteering, to provide their peers the tools to alleviate potential stress related symptoms, through peer support, debriefing and educative processes.
Team members are trained through an internationally recognized organization dedicated to the support of emergency service workers. The DRCISST has provided close to 20,000 interventions since 1991 with: colleagues in Durham; peers in adjacent counties; emergency workers and municipal neighbours during the 1998 Ice Storm; peers working at Swissair 111 disaster and the aftermath of 9/11 at the W.T.C.

“As emergency workers we know that we are exposed to significantly higher levels of psychological trauma; plus, a lifetime of cumulative, organizational and “regular” stress too!.. We want to learn how to manage our stress and our health better; and help you and your family do the same.”

This is the belief and the commitment under our motto: Helping the Helpers.

The DRCISST may be contacted by any emergency worker, supervisor or service. A representative of an agency requiring information or assistance may contact the Team by calling our help line at Lakeridge Health Centre, Oshawa 905-576-8711 ext 3200, ask for the DURHAM REGION CRITICAL INCIDENT STRESS SUPPORT TEAM. You will then be asked FOR the following information:

  1. Your name and telephone number.
  2. The agency, address and phone number.
  3. Nature of incident or other information.

With your assistance and input, we endeavour to educate emergency workers about daily and/or critical stress. Join the team – we are always looking for new members. If you have some time to spare and want to assist your colleagues, contact us

We can react in several ways:

  • CIS Reactions/Symptoms
  • Irritability/anger/guilt
  • Difficulty sleeping/nightmares
  • Second guessing decisions
  • Intestinal upsets/headaches
  • Withdrawal/fears/depression
  • Flashbacks/loss of concentration
  • Decreased problem solving abilities
  • Anxiety about similar stressful events
  • Increased use of alcohol/drugs

And others…