Psychology of emergency is a branch of psychology born between the two World Wars: the status of constant emergency brought the entire world population under much stress for a long time. The psychology of emergency therefore was born to help survivors deal with the results of those calamities and disasters and generally it studies the psychological processes that activate in arduous and extraordinary conditions with its results, both immediate and tardive, on people’s adaptation skills and well being. To get to the point, psychology is interested in all psychic processes that occur in normal conditions, while psychology of emergency studies how these processes change in status of crisis.
It is incorrectly believed that its relevance is limited to situations of calamity. Let’s think of a rescue in water, under snow or in a house involved in a fire… There are many variables that can harden the situation: timing, fear, environmental problems, expectations on rescuer’s actions, bulky equipment, heat or cold… And a rescuer has a life to save!
Many psychological elements can come up, not only regarding the present conditions but also previous personal and emotional experiences, that may interfere during and after the intervention.
Apart from the technical formation, it is also fundamental to a rescuer to have a good psychological formation, so that they can be sincerely aware of their own potentialities and limits, they can fit in a team and communicate properly, they have to be able to control their own and others’ stress, they need to learn to cope with post-intervention troubles and also work for the improvement of the entire team.
Technical knowledge is fundamental but, if not well-managed, stress can interfere with a rescuer’s skills and technique.
The lessons of psychology of emergency will concern:
- Stress management during a rescue and techniques of stress management
- Anxiety, panic and emotional control
- Team work and communication
All the activities are followed by highly qualified and tested personnel.