Crisis and First Responder Training: Skills and Techniques – CRIS 605

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course will provide a foundation of the theoretical concepts and practical applications of crisis response and critical incidents, taking into account topics such as: intervention models and their efficacy and the consequential effects of critical incident stress and trauma on the life of an individual, group and organization.




Most Americans will be exposed to a traumatic event at some point in their life and will experience significant distress due to a critical incident. Crises can create significant impairment in those exposed and many will develop Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or related mental health issues. In addition, personal crises often impact a person’s ability to function in everyday life and affect their relationships with their spouse, family, co-workers, friends and church members. Crisis response and crisis counseling are therefore designed to mitigate the effects of trauma and critical incidents in hopes of creating a sense of safety and stability. This class provides the information needed to develop a foundational understanding of various crises, the role of the first responder in a variety of scenarios, and useful crisis intervention techniques and interventions.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Articulate a theoretical understanding of what constitutes a crisis and the critical incident stress that ensues.
  2. Explain the various types of crises and the unique effects on an individual’s body, mind, emotions, and spiritual state.
  3. Explain and differentiate between critical incident stress management and long-term crisis counseling.
  4. Explain and discuss various types of crisis assessment and crisis intervention techniques.
  5. Explain and discuss specific issues related to crises including community crises, crises of lethality, individual & family crises, and lifespan issues.
  6. Have an understanding of basic legal and ethical issues that might arise in crisis work for first responders.
  7. Acquire insight into special issues that often confront crisis workers.
  8. Examine, discuss, and integrate all issues, theories, assumptions, materials, etc., presented in the course in accord with current scholarly standards and practices.
  9. Examine, discuss, and integrate all issues, theories, assumptions, materials, etc., presented in the course through the lens of Scripture.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings

The assigned textbooks will also serve as resources for the paper.

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will post a Discussion Board thread to the questions posed by the instructor and will write at least 2 replies to his/her classmates’ threads.

The student will introduce themselves to the class during Module/Week 1. 

After reading the directions, rubric, and other material found, the student will propose a research topic for their research paper relevant to crisis care and first responders. The topic must be something appropriate for crisis care and not be in the realm of longer term counseling or therapy. This would be an urgent or emergent situation where a first responder might be needed. The student will identify the topic, and then decide what developmental stage they will review within that topic (children, adolescent, adult, or senior). Topics must be approved before proceeding with research.

Students will write a 2-page summary of a crisis organization of their choice. Any crisis organization dealing with mental health is appropriate. The student will learn general information about the organization, as well as learning about the rules, regulations, training requirements, and techniques utilized at the organization to summarize and then post for their peers to read. Students will critique 2 of their peers’ summaries with a critique (reply post) of at least 250 words which must contain an assessment of both strengths and areas for improvement. The student might also ask questions. All posts need academic information with corresponding citations/references.

Research Paper

Utilizing information presented in this course, as well as theoretical and practical elements from academic and Christian sources, the student will compile an original paper of at least 12–15 pages of body text, in APA style, which summarizes findings on a specific area of a population in crisis and how they might be assisted by first responders. The student will describe: 1) dynamics common in the population of interest; 2) best practices in first responder crisis interventions with this population; and 3) spiritual applications; and 4) cultural considerations. At least 15 recent scholarly sources are required in addition to the course textbooks and/or classic studies if the student chooses to cite these. The student’s grade will be assigned based on quality of content, how well APA guidelines are adhered to, the richness of citations utilized, quality of expression, and biblical integration presented.

The student will complete a Mid-term exam (multiple choice or T/F) which will cover information provided in Module/Weeks 1–4. At the end of the course, the student will complete a Final Exam which will cover materials learned throughout Module/Weeks 1–8.