Building An Effective Crisis Response Team
The chaos that may result when a client acts out and loses control can hurt the goals and mission your organization has worked so hard to achieve. Fortunately, a well-trained Crisis Response Team can effectively de-escalate potentially violent behaviors and promote optimal Care, Welfare, Safety, and SecuritySM in your workplace.
If you would like to build an effective Crisis Response Team for your organization, take a moment to review why winning teams are successful. First, all the team members master the fundamentals of the game. Then, they selectively apply those skills depending on the specifics of their role within the team. How effectively your Crisis Response Team performs depends on these same factors.
The following tips contain a handful of fundamental strategies and skills essential to an effective Crisis Response Team. Taken together they can help your team intervention become more organized and effective.
Safety in Numbers.
Intervening alone is dangerous. A team of two or more people will provide a safe approach for everyone, including the person in crisis.
Yell for Help . . . Quietly.
Team members should be summoned quickly and discreetly. Nonessential personnel will add to the confusion. Try to keep the number of team members to five or fewer.
Who’s in Charge?
Any good team needs a leader. It could be the first person on the scene, a person with confidence and competence, or a person who has an established rapport with the person in crisis.
Follow the Leader.
This is not the time to take a vote on what needs to be done. The team leader must assess the situation, devise a quick plan, direct the other team members, and communicate with the person in crisis.
Practice, Practice, Practice!!!
Like any team, a Crisis Response Team needs practice. Unannounced drills are the best way to improve effectiveness. Strive for realism, but don’t let your drills become crises. Warn appropriate agencies, such as police and fire departments, in advance.
Can We Talk?
Use your experience during actual crises and drills as a foundation for debriefing sessions. In the debriefing, focus on what went right and how to improve next time.
Putting It All Together
As you read through the tips, did you take a mental inventory of which ones you recognize and already use, and which ones are new to you? What about the other members of your Crisis Response Team? Would they be aware of and competent with these crisis team essentials? Remember, you can make any team more effective by making sure all the members master the basic skills and know the responsibilities of their roles.
More Essential Tips for Effective Prevention
The tips above present some proven basics for building an effective Crisis Response Team. They are an important start to a working comprehension of the skills and strategies required for prevention, but more detailed advice and instruction can provide even greater flexibility, confidence, and team-building. For more essential tips that can greatly improve your team’s ability to safely de-escalate a crisis, download our free eBook, Creating a Safe and Caring Work Environment.
CPI’s Crisis Response Team Training is part of our Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program. When staff go through training, they get a clear and proven framework for responding to escalating behavior with a safe and consistent approach. From a client’s initial flicker of anxiety all the way to Postvention, Crisis Response Team training is there to provide your team with both hands-off and hands-on solutions to crisis prevention.