Jeff Smedley – Prince George SAR Instructor

I would like to tell you a short story that I know many of you will relate to.

Early in 2015 I was tallying up my hours for the tax credit for the 2014 year. I had put a lot of time in to SAR that year. Although I had stepped down as the President of our team in May 2014, I was still putting a lot of time and energy finishing projects that I had started. Teaching Team Leader and SARM course, which I love to do, had added more hours to the total. The

SSTC, the CSA Standards committee, and then the Curriculum

Development Committee piled more on hours.

Then I started adding up the Search hours, granted PGSAR is not as busy as some other teams. We still racked up 40 callouts in 2014. I had been on most of them.

In the end I had counted well over a 1200 hours. I am amazed I am still married.

I had been off, out of sorts, and easily cranky for most of last winter. TV shows that had those touching moments that made my wife tear up, were now starting to affect me. I don’t mind being cranky but damn, tears. No Way. That wasn’t for me. I knew I needed to talk to someone. My wife didn’t have the answer for me, although she tried and put up with a lot from me. A couple of my friends that I talked would listen but didn’t understand.

I finally realized I needed CISM.

Just someone to talk to that understood where I was coming from. Of course I was embarrassed that I needed to turn out side of my comfort circle. But I needed to talk to someone who could relate or I was going to crash hard and probably quit SAR altogether.

A call to ECC and I was connected to a Peer Counselor and started down the road to realizing that I had put too much into SAR. That was a tough realization. It goes against my belief in tithe to the community. But it was one of the CISM Peer Councilors that help me come to that realization.

They guided me to making a decision to take a break from SAR which I did last spring for a couple of months. This allowed me to take a good look at what parts of SAR I really enjoy. The call outs and the teaching. So a couple months of recharging and I came back to doing those parts that I enjoy. I honestly believed that without the help of two of our CISM Peers I would not be in SAR today.

I would like lend my support to the CISM team in their request for funding. Without this service I would either be a royal pain in someone’s butt or I would have quit SAR completely. Please help them stay trained.

Jeff Smedley

Search Manager PGSAR and a whole bunch more.


CISM for Communites – Angela Betts – Trained Peer Specialist

When sudden tragedy strikes in people’s lives, they can feel isolated in a fog of grief, confusion and uncertainty.

In the immediate aftermath of trauma, they often just need someone to stand by them — and it takes extraordinary people, with uncommon strength and compassion, to give their time to helping strangers experiencing the worst moments of their lives.

It takes Angelenos like Burnett Oliver.

Burnett has been a member of the Mayor’s Crisis Response Team (CRT) for more than six years — one of more than 300 volunteers who each donate 36 hours a month to a singular mission: helping victims and families take the first steps toward recovery from the unexpected death of a loved one, violent crime, fires, traffic accidents and other traumatic incidents.

He came to this work out of a sense of empathy, after coping with the loss of his own mother and spending decades working to help neighbors in the Arlington Heights community he has lived in for decades. In his time as a member of the CRT, Burnett has responded to more incidents than he can count — but he’ll never forget one of the first times he rolled out after completing his training: to the scene of a drive-by shooting in South L.A.

“In a moment like that, it’s really just about being there for someone,” Burnett said. “Our role is to engage, help provide for immediate needs, and do our best to organize support systems by notifying relatives, connecting victims with their clergy, and giving them some direction. That’s what people need when they’re under that kind of stress.”

The work performed by Burnett and his fellow CRT volunteers can mean the difference between whether people stay broken, or are able to begin healing and putting their lives back together. They might be mental health professionals, members of the clergy, or just everyday Angelenos.

CISM Training Comments:

From Fort Chipewyan participant –

“I think this is important for people to learn how they can support others in a crisis and everyone should have this training”

“I believe this training would be very helpful for responders”

“Instructor was one of the best I’ve ever had”

From social workers who took the training: “this training should be mandatory for social non-profit workers”

“the facilitator is flexible and has a wealth of knowledgeC”

“It was the best course I’ve ever taken”