Who's On My Crisis Response Team?

July 20, 2010
Two pairs of hands clasped together.

One of my favorite lecture series in the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program is the lectures dealing with Team Intervention in Unit 8. I especially like the piece on “Crisis Response Team.” I take a journalistic approach to this lecture focusing on what a crisis response team is, who can be on it, how many staff are recommended for the team, and finally, how to summon the team and what codes can be used to call or utilize the team.

Today, just for laughs, I'd like to cover who can be on the team. Just about anybody can be on a crisis response team. However, the one requirement you want for staff is that they be trained in the intervention course. People who have not been trained may lack the skills, confidence, and language abilities to be effective. They could actually do more harm than good. That's really the only commonality you need. Job titles are not important even though I do list them as part of this lecture simply to demonstrate that anyone from the newly employed Administrative Assistant to the Director or Superintendent is eligible . . . as long as they have successfully completed the intervention training.

Where I went to school when I was a kid we had a really nice janitor by the name of "Bob.” That's what the job title was back then. There were no “custodial engineers.” And if you were really lucky, the teacher would pick you to go to Bob's utility room to clean the chalk-encrusted erasers. Bob had a really great machine that, when you flipped the switch, would vibrate and suck out all the chalk dust with a vacuum motor that was attached when you slid the erasers back and forth across the top. Oh, we were very high-tech at Indian Grove Elementary school. No clapping the erasers together for us. And Bob was really cool and had posters of popular bands like Led Zeppelin and Kiss in his utility room. He would even sometimes give you candy (back in the day when it was permissible). All us kids loved Bob. He was a decent man. In a crisis situation, who do you think had the best rapport with us kids? Bob the janitor. And who knew that school like the back of his hand? Bob did.

Having rapport with the people we care for or educate and knowing our workplace environment are two qualities that can serve us well in any crisis situation. So it's not about which of our staff have the most advanced degrees, the fanciest job titles, or get the most awards at our workplaces. Simply put, who can best deescalate a crisis situation because of the training and intervention qualities they have—that is who we want on our crisis response team. Then again, those who possess sugary treats and can get you great concert tickets are also helpful.

Bob would love these helpful hints about behavior management. 

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