June 01, 2022

Missouri launches free Critical Incident Stress Management training program for first responders

Registration is now open for free training program offered across the state for law enforcement, firefighters, EMS and dispatch personnel

The Missouri Department of Public Safety has launched a free Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) training program open to any first responder – law enforcement, fire service, EMS and dispatch personnel – in the state. The free training is being offered regionally and is designed to assist individuals experiencing stress or trauma related to their first responder duties, help agencies build critical incident support teams, and strengthen supportive environments within responder agencies. A brief video highlighting the Missouri training is available here.

In 2021, Governor Mike Parson signed into law Senate Bill 57 and House Bill 8, which directed DPS to establish a Critical Incident Stress Management Program and provide services to first responders to assist in coping with stress and potential psychological trauma resulting from responses to critical incidents or emotionally difficult events.

“Missouri’s first responders make tremendous sacrifices as they work tirelessly to respond to emergencies, protect us and save lives,” Governor Parson said. “The dangers they face, violence they confront and tragedies they experience can be a very heavy burden. That’s why it’s so important that we support the brave public servants and their families and make this type of training available.”

“This new Critical Incident Stress Management training is available at no cost to any first responder – law enforcement, fire, EMS, dispatch – to help deal with traumatic events they might face on the job and to assist in building peer-support teams across the state,” Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten said. “My 36 years in public safety have made it clear that the experiences first responders face on the job can take a toll. Proactively addressing this and building up support resources across Missouri makes for healthier responders and agencies that are prepared when critical incidents occur.”  

National studies have shown that first responders are subject to elevated levels of stress related to both specific critical or traumatic events and the accumulation of day-to-day occupational stress associated with incident responses, challenging work schedules and extreme family-work demands. Studies have shown that law enforcement officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.

Two Course Offerings
The training is being offered in two courses:

  • Three-day Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) class that combines assisting individuals in crisis and group crisis intervention training. This training is eligible for 27 hours of Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Continuing Law Enforcement Education credit.
  • Two-day Peer-Support Sustainment Training focused on creating and maintaining proactive peer-support teams within agencies or regions. (CISM course completion required to register.)

The video highlighting the new Missouri CISM training course and objectives also includes how to register for upcoming class sessions in Kansas City (June 6-8), Springfield (June 13-15, Nov. 14-16, Dec. 5-7), St. Charles (July 11-13), St. Louis County (Aug. 1-3), Cape Girardeau (Aug. 22-24), Macon (Sept. 12-15), St. Joseph (Sept. 27-29) and Joplin (Oct. 25-27). The video is available here. Additional training sessions are being scheduled.

DPS has teamed with the Warrior’s Rest Foundation to provide the training to first responders at no cost. The Warrior’s Rest Foundation has years of experience providing mental health counseling, crisis intervention, and CISM and peer support training across the nation.



For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail