Inderscience Publishers

Development and evolution of a crisis support service at an international airport

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In response to increasing concerns about the impact of disaster recovery work on responders, Pearson International Airport (PIA) in Toronto established Canada's first airport based 'critical incident stress team' in the fall of 1989. The original aim was to support the local airport community particularly in the event of an air disaster. Over the 17 years of operation, the goals and services of the team have shifted, founded on emerging theory and evidenced based practices and in keeping with the changes in emergency management systems. The service component of the team expanded beyond emergency workers and airport personnel to families and friends of those affected by disaster; the nature of the service became broader and more prevention focused. In addition, a research and training component has been added with the intent of better addressing the needs of those affected by disaster.

Keywords: aeroplane crash, crisis support, occupational stress, critical incident stress, trauma, psychosocial first aid, international airports, disaster recovery, Canada, air disaster, emergency management

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