These actions should be integrated into your duties in a natural, seamless way and used only when they do not interfere with your primary responsibilities and actions. They involve only a small amount of effort on your part, but these actions can make a huge difference in how the citizens you serve recover from the stress of what has happened to them.
Curbside Manner is based on five principles to help accident and disaster survivors recover from those experiences.
1. Cover means helping people to regain a sense of safety after a traumatic event. This can involve removing them from the scene, protecting them from onlookers, or simply letting them know that
you are there to help them.
2. Calm implies helping people return to a calm equilibrium quickly. Responders can assist by staying calm themselves, showing understanding for their situation, and coaching affected individuals in ways to calm themselves.
3. Connect means helping people gain access to sources of social support. This can involve reconnecting people with their family and pets, or enlisting neighbors or friends to assist.
4. Competence implies helping people to meet their own needs by promoting their access to resources. This can be done by helping people secure basic needs such as water or blankets, or transferring them to social service agencies that can assist.
5. Confidence involves supporting affected individuals in ways that will help them to regain a sense of hope and confidence about themselves and the future. Helping them to reduce self-blame and guilt can help, as can letting them know that you might have made the same choices in a similar situation.
The principles taught in Curbside Manner are also the core principles of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Stress First Aid for Fire and EMS Personnel course.
Curbside Manner: Stress First Aid for the Street is available as a one-hour continuing education course at www.fireherolearningnetwork.com.
This Coffee Break Training item was submitted by the NFFF.