Stress Survival Tactics

Stress Survival Tactics is a program developed as part of an officer survival in-service program for Texas Game Wardens. This paper presents a training technique that works well when dealing with the emotion-laden issue of survival stress or critical incident stress. Hormones released in a survival situation have a tremendous effect on emotions, sensory perceptions, psychomotor skills, and on one's ability to process information. Stress Survival Tactics mentally, psychologically, and physically prepares officers to train for a survival situation such as a use-of-force situation. A critical incident can be any incident, personal or professional, that pushes one to the limit and challenges the ability to endure. Mental rehearsal and preparation is a technique that can be used to prepare for an incident before it occurs. Mental implementation involves recognizing the changes that occur to the mind and body in a high stress situation and channeling these changes to the officer's favor rather than to his demise. Critical incident stress management prepares officers for the trauma of the aftermath by presenting the stages that a person commonly struggles through following a critical incident. Instruction and advice is provided by peers who have "been there" using videotaped interviews of game wardens who have experienced critical incident stress in their jobs.

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