Pastor Jeff Hull (Senior Pastor - Reepsville Baptist Church and Chaplain for Union VFD)
As a Pastor, there are things I did not learn in Bible College or Seminary. I learned how to teach God’s word, minister, counsel, and care for church members. However, I was never taught how to handle tragedy at its earliest stages. Needless to say, as a young minister I made many mistakes as I did the best I could in my ignorance. Four months after entering into full-time ministry, I encountered the most difficult challenge I had ever faced. One of my church members (who had been inactive for years) had completed the act of suicide. I had no idea how to minister to his widow or the children he left behind. Thankfully there was a trained chaplain with our local volunteer fire department on the scene as well. Ted assisted me in aiding them during this tragedy and I am eternally grateful to him for his assistance. It was at that point, I realized that my degrees in Biblical Studies had not given me the ability to minister in the face of tragedy. The CISM classes I have attended have prepared me to minister during devastating circumstances. I have learned what to do in different situations; how to minister to different people groups; when to speak; when to just be silent and listen. I cannot stress enough the importance of having chaplains trained to respond during times of crisis. It is not only a necessity for the victims involved, but also to the emergency responders, Communication Center/dispatchers, and anyone else indirectly traumatized by the events.
Rev. Richard Gould (Pastor for Asbury United Methodist Church and Chaplain for Pumpkin Center VFD)
Unless you are part of the fire service you really can’t know what it means to lose a life to fire, or not be able to save someone trapped in a wrecked vehicle. To know the frustration of having all the equipment you need but the risk of losing your life is greater than the chance of saving someone else. These are things that they don’t teach in Seminary or local pastorates. I have stood totally dumbfounded trying to explain the loss of a child just as a pastor to a mother, but that is not the same as dealing with two EMT’s who lost a child because all their skill was just not enough and there was nothing that could be done to change it. I have stood in the front yard as a house burned to the ground and two men died and there was nothing I could do about it, told to go sit down because my blood pressure was so high the EMT on scene thought I was going to be the next casualty. CISM gives us the tools to help Fire and EMT personnel make it to the next call. As an Ordained minister I can tell you that no counseling course I have ever taken fits the bill as well as CISM. And I would be the first to tell any Chief that calling a pastor is not the same as having a trained individual meet with hurting people, not to preach a sermon but to listen and cry with them.
Rev. Ted R. Bost, Jr. (Pastor at Daniel’s Lutheran Church and Chaplain for Union VFD)
If you ask someone, “What has been the worst day of your life?” they generally respond by telling you about a day of great loss usually involving disease, injury or death. Parish pastors are trained and equipped to be present with and “walk” with church members when these disasters strike. Most of the time, church pastors have ongoing, close relationships with members and bad news arrives in the familiar surroundings of home or hospital. Emergency service/fire chaplaincy training prepares pastors and lay persons for a different kind of ministry. Chaplains / crisis responders come to the scene of a fire, wreck or other disaster; they usually don’t have an existing relationship with victims or families and they may or may not ever see them again. Emergency pastoral care involves a different skill set and philosophy than traditional pastoral care. Chaplains / crisis responders “walk” a very short distance with victims and families during the worst moment on the worst day of their lives. To perform this kind of ministry requires special training and established relationships with emergency service providers like fire-fighters, Paramedics and police officers. Emergency service providers need to have confidence that chaplains will protect victims and families and not create extra complications in already stressful circumstances. Chaplains / crisis responders can also act as liaisons between families and service providers so providers can concentrate on the immediate, pressing needs of victims. Also, emergency service providers sometimes need pastoral care and counseling due to their own exposure to victims of injury and trauma. A chaplain’s ability to “walk” with victims and families beset with disease, injury or death does not make the pain go away but a chaplain’s presence can help remind people of the ever-present healing and peace of God even on the worst day of their lives.
Dan Peters, CFPS, Town Manager, Town of Granite Quarry, NC
The Academy is presently a little known school in western North Carolina that is home to the best crisis response training in the Southeast region of the US. As a fire chaplain I have attended classes at the Academy to become better equipped to handle the duties related to critical incident response. Local and national instructors teach mainly weekend classes to allow a broad base of individuals to attend the classes.
These classes have assisted me in my day to day duties as a town manager and public safety director.
These classes are not just for chaplains or members of the clergy, they will assist any individual involved with emergency response or supervising emergency response personal.
Please take a few minutes to review the classes offered by the Academy and signup for a weekend class. The weekend will change your prospective on how to work with/manage emergency services personnel and law enforcement officers.
Susan McMillen, Law Enforcement Chaplain, Knoxville, TN
I was happy to find a great training resource within a short drive from home. I have attended other ICISF courses and find The Academy – NICRT is top notch---excellent instructors, variety of courses and affordable. I will be back.
Chaplain Jill Bryan, CEO Jillybean Ent. Inc., Lingle, Wy
Thank you for the CISM Law Enforcement Class that I was able to take part in while I was in NC. I really appreciated Geoffrey Leggett and his understanding of the different cultures in LEO. West, East and Midwest each have a different cultural mindset. Wyoming is different but with the training I have received I will be a better chaplain. I will be able to assist my community better because of the training I have received at The Academy – NICRT.