TITLE XII
PUBLIC SAFETY AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 153-A
EMERGENCY MEDICAL AND TRAUMA SERVICES

Section 153-A:17-a

    153-A:17-a Critical Incident Intervention and Management. –
I. In this section:
(a) "Critical incident" means an event or events that result in acute or cumulative psychological stress or trauma to an emergency service provider as a result of response to the incident.
(b) "Critical incident stress" means an unusually strong emotional, cognitive, or physical reaction that has the potential to interfere with normal functioning and that results from the response to a critical incident or long-term occupational exposure to a series of critical incident responses over a period of time that are believed to be causing debilitating stress that is affecting an emergency service provider and his or her work performance or family situation. This may include, but is not limited to, physical and emotional illness, failure of usual coping mechanisms, loss of interest in the job, personality changes, or loss of ability to function.
(c) "Critical incident stress management" means a process of crisis intervention designed to assist emergency service providers in coping with the psychological trauma resulting from response to a critical incident.
(d) "Critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services" means consultation, counseling, debriefing, defusing, intervention services, management, prevention, and referral provided by a critical incident stress management team member.
(e) "Critical incident stress management team" or "team" means the group of one or more trained volunteers, including members of peer support groups organized by a unit of state, local, or county government who offer critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services following a critical incident or long term or continued, debilitating stress being experienced by emergency services providers and affecting them or their family situation.
(f)(1) "Critical incident stress management team member" or "team member" means an emergency services provider, including any law enforcement officer, sheriff or deputy sheriff, state police officer, civilian law enforcement employee, firefighter, civilian fire department employee, emergency medical personnel, telecommunicators, and local dispatchers specially trained to provide critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services as a member of an organized and registered team.
(2) In this subparagraph:
(A) "Telecommunicator" means an employee of the department of safety, division of emergency services and communications who is responsible for receiving at the public safety answering point telephone calls made to E911 and transferring or relaying such calls to public or private safety agencies.
(B) "Local dispatcher" means a person who determines the location, status, and assistance required by callers and walk-in customers for public safety services and dispatches the appropriate police, fire, ambulance, or other units to provide needed emergency services at the state, city, town, or private emergency services level.
II. (a) Team members shall undergo and sustain certification standards set forth in guidelines established by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) approved by the commissioner of the department of safety, or a similar organization for which the commissioner shall not unreasonably withhold approval. The team shall be registered with ICISF, or a similar organization, and maintain training standards to date as required.
(b) All critical incident stress management team members, sworn or civilian, shall be designated by the police chief, sheriff, director of the division of state police, fire chief, or director of the division of emergency services and communications.
III. (a) Any information divulged to the team or a team member during the provision of critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services shall be kept confidential and shall not be disclosed to a third party or in a criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding. Records kept by critical incident stress management team members are not subject to subpoena, discovery, or introduction into evidence in a criminal, civil, or administrative action. Except as provided in subparagraph (c), no person, whether critical incident stress management team member or team leader providing or receiving critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services, shall be required to testify or divulge any information obtained solely through such crisis intervention.
(b) The purpose of this section is to provide a consistent framework for the operation of critical incident stress management teams and their members. In any civil action against any individual, agency, or government entity, including the state of New Hampshire, arising out of the conduct of a member of such team, this section is not intended and shall not be admissible to establish negligence in any instance where requirements herein are higher than the standard of care that would otherwise have been applicable in such action under state law.
(c) A communication shall not be deemed confidential pursuant to this section if:
(1) The communication indicates the existence of a danger to the individual who receives critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services or to any other person or persons.
(2) The communication indicates the existence of past child abuse or neglect of the individual, abuse of an adult as defined by law, or family violence as defined by law.
(3) The communication indicates the existence of past or present acts constituting an intentional tort or crime, provided the applicable statute of limitation has not expired on the act indicated.

Source. 2013, 74:1, eff. June 6, 2013. 2019, 245:1, 2, eff. July 12, 2019.