5.6 Managing escalating situations

The key steps in managing an escalating situation are:

a) Maintain self control

  • Avoid mirroring behaviour
  • Control breathing
  • Control voice
  • Control stance
  • Match verbal to non-verbal behaviours

b) Maintain a safe distance

  • Danger zone is 0 .4 metre to 1 metre from the person (within hitting and kicking distance)
  • The area either side of the danger zone is considered safe

c) Maintain a non confrontational body stance

  • Keep hands open and in full view
  • Stand slightly at an angle to the person
  • Avoid staring or standing with your hands on your hips
  • Avoid making fast movements

d) Analyse situation

  • Is there anything reinforcing the behaviour?
  • Is there anything frightening the person?
  • Are they being over or under stimulated?

e) Decide on an intervention

  • Intervention can include negotiation, leaving, no action, surprise, diversion, humour, isolating client, removal of other clients/people, requesting assistance and evasive self defence (only to be used if under attack / as a last resort)

f) Review intervention and decide on next step

  • Monitor situation and intervention. This will help you decide whether or not to continue, modify or stop the current intervention.

g) Managing after a crisis

The body’s normal internal reaction to stress is a build up of tension.

Tension can be released by:
  • Relaxation / breathing techniques
  • Vigorous activity or aerobic exercise (physical release)
  • Talking, laughter, crying (emotional release)
Things to avoid
  • Self-administering drugs/overuse of prescribed medication
  • Using alcohol, caffeine or cigarettes
  • Using food as a means to cope
  • Releasing tension by aggression and anger
Things to remember
  • after any crisis, it is normal for a person to experience an emotional or physical change for up to six weeks
  • don’t label yourself as crazy
  • avoid making life-altering decisions within a few weeks of the crisis
  • seek professional help if symptoms persist longer than six weeks.