CIRP for Cabin Crew

Critical Incident Response Programme for Cabin Crew


Focusing on Cabin Crew Mental Health and Well-being

A critical incident has the potential to cause an unusually strong emotional reaction and interfere with a person's routine functioning level. No one is immune from this response, regardless of past experiences or years of service in an organization. The aviation community has recognized the need to address personnel's mental health well-being with the same level of openness and priority as physical well-being, including the need to respond to critical incidents.


Cabin crew members are safety professionals with many of the same safety, security, rescue and medical duties as first responders. As such, cabin crew are at risk of experiencing critical events and post-critical incident stress symptoms as are other first responder professionals. The implementation of a critical incident response programme (CIRP) is a proactive safety activity and has been a standard industry support service for most first responders. This type of programme predicts and plans for wellness issues that can impact safety. Although the operator may have a CIRP established for their employees, there is a need for a cabin crew-specific approach when implementing such a programme. The CIRP should focus on the specific needs of cabin crew members by supporting a culture of cabin crew resilience and overall well-being. This is consistent with the value/importance of cabin crew role within the aviation system. A CIRP contributes to a reduction of financial and productivity losses for the operator and supports its safety management.


The State plays a key role in the implementation of CIRPs across all sectors of the aviation industry. Although the State may not mandate such programmes, it should encourage their implementation by industry. A CIRP is a means to promote a proactive approach to managing safety at the national level.


ICAO Guidance Material

ICAO developed the Manual on the Critical Incident Response Programme for Cabin Crew (Doc 10185) to provide guidance related to the development and implementation of a CIRP specifically for cabin crew members. The manual provides guidance on:

  • General concepts of stressful or critical events
  • Benefits of developing a CIRP
  • Designing a CIRP for cabin crew
  • Implementation
  • Awareness and training
  • State activities supporting the programme

To obtain a copy of the Manual on the Critical Incident Response Programme for Cabin Crew (Doc 10185), please visit:

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