Critical Incident

Scoil Mhuire na mBuachaillí Critical Incident Policy

Critical Incident Policy
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.
Criminal incidents.
Major accidents, serious injury.
Civil unrest, war (refugees may be traumatised by events that happened elsewhere)
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:

Task Name

Overall Management of Response Eamon Mc Eneaney
Communication Pauline Mc Mahon
Supervision Maire Mc Quillan
Media Liaison Marese Heavin
Administration Tasks Denise Murphy
Parent Liaison Sinead Mc Ardle
Student Liaison Ramona Cronin
Community Liaison Sinead Mc Ardle
Staff Liaison Emma Swinburne
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.

Emergency Contact List
Outside Agency Contact Numbers

Garda 042-9740032
Hospital 047-38800
Fire Brigade 112
Drs Clarke and O Duffy 042-9740757
Dr Flanagan 042-9746557
Clinic 042-0740462
Health Board 047-30400
Inspectorate 0879813877
N.E.P.S. Psychologist 0872042714
I.N.T.O. 1850708708
Parish Office 042-9740027
Dept. of Education 090-6483600
Roles and Responsibilities
Leadership Role: Eamon Mc Eneaney
• Confirm the event
• Activate the C.I. 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)
Post intervention
• Ensure provision of ongoing support to staff and students
• Facilitate any appropriate memorial events
• Review Plan
Communication Role: Pauline Mc Mahon
• With Team prepare a public statement.
• Organise designated room to address media promptly
• Ensure telephone line free for outgoing and important incoming calls
• Liaison with relevant outside support agencies
Post intervention
• Review and evaluate effectiveness of communication response

Student Liaison/ Counselling Role: Ramona Cronin
• Outline specific services available in school
• Put in place clear referral procedures
• Address immediate needs of staff
• Information
• Counselling
Post intervention
• Ongoing support to vulnerable students
• Monitor class most affected
• Refer on, as appropriate
• Review and evaluate Plan
Chaplaincy Role: Fr Stephen Duffy
• Visit home, if appropriate
• Assist with prayer services
• Make contact with local clergy
• Be available as personal and spiritual support to staff
Post intervention
• Provide follow-up support to family in conjunction with Home School Community Liaison
• Work in partnership with religious education team
• Review and Evaluate Plan
Family Liaison Role: Sinead Mc Ardle
• 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
Post intervention
• Provide ongoing support to bereaved family
• Involve as appropriate family in school liturgies/memorial services.
• Offer to link family with community support groups
• Review and evaluate plan.

Action plan
• 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:
• Individual Meetings:
• Parents: Room

Task Name ( Key and Support)
Gather Accurate Information Relevant Staff and Witnesses ( Accidents)
Contact Appropriate Agencies : Eamon Mc Eneaney and Maire Mc Quillan
Convene a staff meeting : Pauline Mc Mahon and Aisling Connolly
Arrange Supervision of students: Olive O Brien/Julieann Murphy/Caroline Mc Mahon/Amanda Mc Geough
Hold Staff Meeting – All Staff
Organise Timetable for the day : Marese Heavin and Ramona Cronin
Inform parents : Sinead Mc Ardle and Maire Mc Quillan.
Inform Students :Emma Swinburne and Denise Murphy.
Make contact with bereaved family Eamon Mc Eneaney and Pauline Mc Mahon.
Dealing With Media Eamon Mc Eneaney.

Media Briefing
• Designate a spokesperson.
• Prepare a brief statement.
• Protect the family’s privacy.
• Gather accurate information
• It is important to obtain accurate information about the incident.
1. What happened, where and when?
2. What is the extent of the injuries?
3. How many are involved and what are their names?
4. Is there a risk of further injury?
5. What agencies have been contacted already?
• Contact appropriate agencies
1. Emergency services
2. Medical services
3. H.S.E. Psychology Departments/Community Care Services
5. BOM
6. DES/Schools Inspector.
• Convene a meeting with Key Staff/Critical Management Team (8.30 a.m.)
1. Organize a staff meeting, if appropriate. (9.00 a.m.)
2. Organize timetable/routine for the day. (Adhering to the normal school routine is important, if this is possible).
3. 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.
4. Arrange supervision of students
• Liaise with the family regarding funeral arrangements/memorial service.
1. The Chaplain/ Principal will liaise with the family, to extend sympathy and clarify the family’s wishes regarding the school’s involvement in funeral/memoriaI service.
2. Arrange a home visit by two staff representatives within 24 hours, if appropriate. (Student Liaison person + Class teacher)
3. Have regard for different religious traditions and faiths.
• Preparation of students/staff attending funeral.
• Involvement of students/staff in liturgy if agreed by bereaved family.
• Facilitation of students’/staffs’ responses, eg. Sympathy cards, flowers, book of condolences, etc.
• Ritual within the school.
• Review the events of the first 24 hours
1. Reconvene Key Staff/Critical Incident Management Team. (8.30 a.m.)
2. Decide arrangements for support meetings for parents/students/staff.
3. Decide on mechanism for feedback from teachers on vulnerable students.
4. Have review Critical Incident Management Team meeting. (3.00 p.m.)
5. Establish contact with absent staff and pupils.
• Arrange support for individual students, groups of students, and parents, if necessary.
1. Hold support/information meeting for parents/students, if necessary, in order to clarify what has happened.
2. Give any teacher who feels uncomfortable with involvement in support meetings the choice of opting out.
3. Arrange, in consultation, with outside agencies, individual or group debriefings or support meetings with parental permission. Permission slips to be included in enrolment forms.
• Plan for the re-integration of students and staff e.g. absentees, injured, siblings, close relative etc)
1. Student Liaison person to liaise with above on their return to school.
2. Plan visits to injured
3. Family Liaison person + Class Teacher + Principal to visit home/hospital.
4. Attendance and participation at funeral/memorial service (To be decided)
5. Decide this in accordance with parents’ wishes and school management decisions and in consultation with close school friends.
6. School closure
7. Request a decision on this from school management

Task Name/ Group
Review the events of the first 24 hours : Staff
Arrange support for individual/groups of students/parents : Emma Swinburne, Maire Mc Quillan and Sinead Mc Ardle
Plan the reintegration of staff and students : Marese Heavin, Denise Murphy. Pauline Mc Mahon.
Plan visits to the injured : Maire Mc Quillan and Marese Heavin.
Liaise with family re funeral. Arrange memorial service : Eamon Mc Eneaney and Pauline Mc Mahon.
Attendance / Participation at funeral service etc Staff
School Closure : B.O.M.

• 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.
1. Uncharacteristic behaviour
2. Deterioration in academic performance
3. Physical symptoms — e.g. weight loss/gain, lack of attention to appearance, tiredness, restlessness
4. Inappropriate emotional reactions
5. Increased absenteeism.
• Evaluate response to incident and amend Critical lncident Management Plan appropriately.
1. What went well?
2. Where were the gaps?
3. What was most/least helpful?
4. Have all necessary onward referrals to support services been made?
5. Is there any unfinished business?
Formalise the Critical Incident Plan for the future
1. Consult with NEPS Psychologist
2.Inform new staff/new school pupils affected by Critical Incidents where appropriate
3.Ensure that new staff is aware of the school policy and procedures in this area.
4. Ensure they are aware of which pupils were affected in any recent incident and in what way.
5. When individual pupils or a class of pupils affected by an incident are transferring to a new school, it would be useful to brief the Principal of the new school.
 Decide on appropriate ways to deal with anniversaries (Be sensitive to special days and events)
1. Anniversaries may trigger emotional responses in students/staff and they may need additional support at this time.
2. Acknowledge the anniversary with the family
3. 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.

Task Name/Group
Monitor Students for signs of continuing stress. Class teachers and S.N.As

Evaluate response to incident and amend C.I. Plan appropriately: Staff and B.O.M.

Formalise plan for the future Staff and B.O.M.
Inform new staff/pupils : Maire Mc Quillan, Denise Murphy and Marese Heavin.
Decide on appropriate ways to deal with anniversaries. B.O.M., Staff and Parents.

Useful Contact Numbers
Barnardos 0419841868
The Samaritans 1850609090
Childline 1800666666
Parentline 1890927277
Nat. Suicide Bereavement Support. 02495561
Rainbows 04734175
The Bereavement Counselling Service 018391766
Bereavement Counselling 016767727

Emergency Contact List
Outside Agency Contact Numbers

Garda 042-9740032
Hospital 047-38800
Fire Brigade 112
Drs Clarke and O Duffy 042-9740757
Dr Flanagan 042-9746557
Clinic 042-0740462
Health Board 047-30400
Inspectorate 0879813877
N.E.P.S. Psychologist 0872042714
I.N.T.O. 1850708708
Fr. Mc Cabe 042-9740051
Priests House 042-9740027
Dept. of Education 090-6483600