Tragic Event Response Team (TERT)

Algonquin College prides itself on being a caring and compassionate community. We all strive to support students impacted by significant life events. The unfortunate reality is, in a large institution such as Algonquin College, tragic incidents that significantly impact employees and students regularly occur. These events can be localized and impact only a few students. They can also have a broader impact and impact an entire class, or even the entire Algonquin community.

What is the Tragic Event Response Team?
TERT is a multidisciplinary group of college employees covering all Algonquin campuses. Team members are trained to provide psychological first aid to students in the event of a tragic incident. These events may occur on or off campus.

Why involve TERT?
Exposure to traumatic or serious events has the potential to evoke a strong emotional reaction. Intense feelings of guilt, sadness or anger can lead to poor concentration, acting impulsively, increased substance use, and lashing out at others. These effects can be significantly reduced by providing support shortly after the event.

When to Contact the Tragic Event Response Team
When a tragic event occurs, it is preferable to move swiftly and decisively to provide support to all impacted students. TERT can assist college employees to develop an appropriate response when students have been impacted by such events. These events might include tragedy involving classmates, professors, or others with whom they have a connection. Common types of events that impact students include:

  • The injury or serious illness of someone known to students
  • A threat to personal safety of students, such as a fire or accident impacting students
  • A significant disaster that saturates the media

How does TERT Function?
TERT will provide support services in consultation with faculty, chairs and other staff connected to the students impacted by the event.

Types of interventions include:

  • On-site crisis support
  • Group/class notification and debriefing sessions
  • Counselling sessions with individual students impacted by event
  • Consultation with Algonquin employees re: supporting impacted students
  • Referral to community resources
  • Follow-up

What to do in the case of a tragic event?
If you learn of a tragic event involving a member of the Algonquin community, whether on or off campus, contact your chair or supervisor to initiate services from TERT.

It is useful for TERT to have the following information:

  • Details of the event
  • People directly affected
  • Names, program, and timetableĀ of students who may be impacted
  • Current situation in the school including any possible factors that might indicate the potential impact on the college community
  • Relevant personal data and contact phone numbers

If you would like additional information regarding TERT, contact Ben Bridgstock, Manager Counselling Services, First Gen/Crown Ward, and Spiritual Centre, bridgsb@algonquincollege.com, 613-727-4723 ext. 2925.