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The Characteristics of an Extreme Incident

Attention: Experience in dealing with routine incidents does not prepare you for an extreme incident!

As a first responder, you train for extreme incidents your entire professional life. Yet, when you experience it for the first time, it’s beyond anything you learned.

What are the characteristics of an extreme incident?

An extreme incident is any occurrence or any action/event that challenges all your senses, your self-control, and how you react to what is happening.

An extreme incident scenario
An extreme incident

We define an extreme incident as any event that falls into all the following categories:

  • Includes wounded and/or kidnapped casualties;
  • Creates confusion and high levels of stress;
  • Requires but provides limited access to medical and rescue resources.
A photo of an example of a potential training for a chemical incident.
An example of a potential training for a chemical incident.

The event is mentally challenging because your brain perceives it as a “first-time” experience. This makes it more difficult for your mind to come up with solutions, which in turn may trigger automatic responses of your body (like the fight or flight response, which is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival).

A photo of an extreme incident simulation scenario for hyper-realistic trainings.
During hyper-realistic trainings, there will be blood, bodies, and body parts scattered everywhere. The disturbing sights are one of the first factors to take into account when creating an extreme simulation scenario.

The mental challenge occurs as a result of several affecting factors:

  • The way in which you experience the event (trauma, guilt etc…)
  • The disturbing sights (people in pain and/or agony, dead bodies, noise, dust or other factors)
  • Fear
This picture describes an extreme incident simulation of a helicopter crash using hyper realistic scenarios and products.
This picture describes an extreme simulation of a helicopter crash using hyper-realistic scenarios and products.

What are the challenges of an extreme incident?

Below is a short description of the main characteristics of an extreme incident and the feelings you might experience (among others, of course) as you are going through it:

  • All the different units/facilities of an organization (from office workers to logistics, purchasing etc.) need to adapt immediately to the emergency status/harsh conditions;
  • Requires high levels of logistical, medical and operational coordination at all levels of command;
  • Requires capabilities that deviate from basic techniques and involve improvisation, leadership and decision-making skills;
  • There will be problems, but not where you expect, so expect the unexpected;
  • Conduct in routine trainings might create a feeling of false self-confidence, since the capability to deal with extreme incidents (which are characterized by large size, the number of locations, the type of challenge etc), is significantly more challenging;
An extreme incident simulation/training at sea
An extreme simulation/training at sea

Are you ready to go through an extreme incident?

If you work as a first responder, serve in the military, or in a medical center, going through an extreme incident is not a matter of IF, but of WHEN.

So before it happens, make sure that you and your team are prepared to face everything that’s coming your way.


Contact Extreme Simulations now to book a complete training session