A Guide to Planning and Responding to Critical Incidents

What is TRAC?

The Toolkit for Response Advocates in Colorado (TRAC) is an online destination for victim advocates and other emergency response organizations that can be helpful when planning for a mass crisis incident or when a community needs to respond immediately. 

This toolkit is meant to help victim assistance responders:
  • Develop tools and templates for their communities to utilize when planning for a mass crisis response or when an incident occurs.
  • Develop guidelines for communities to effectively plan and respond to victims of crime during and after a major criminal incident. 

Why was the Toolkit Developed?

This toolkit has been developed to help communities develop a comprehensive response to these types of incidents using the best practices from around Colorado and the country. This toolkit is intended to be used as a guide for victim services personnel when initiating a community plan to address a victim services response. This toolkit focuses on mass crisis incidents that are associated with a criminal event as well as the victim assistance response that will be provided to the victims of the crime.  It does not specifically address non-criminal events like natural disasters, fires, pandemics or other incidents that affect masses of people.  However, this toolkit can be utilized for many types of crisis as the emergency management team in each county extensively plans for many types of issues. 

Every community is different, and the planning process should address the needs and resources of a specific community and context. This toolkit will provide a starting point for individuals, agencies, and community partners to lay the foundations of effective action so victims and their families can be supported during trying times.

How to Use This Toolkit

Think of this toolkit as a planning guide. It is designed to lead you through basic steps in the process of developing a mass crisis response plan for victims of crime. The victim assistance response plan you develop should be utilized as an additional resource to your local mass crisis incident plan. This planning guide will also complement, and should be coordinated with, your local emergency response plan for behavioral health response activities. The toolkit will also provide additional resources and research about best practices in crisis response to complement plans already in place.

This toolkit is comprised of four response phases: Pre-plan prior to an incident, initial response after an incident, short term response and resources, long term response and recovery. Visit the various links to learn more about each phase.

  • Preparation is a vital piece of crisis response. The best pre-plans use support systems that already exist to leverage the most effective response to the needs of victims. more »
  • When a crisis situation occurs, law enforcement advocates are mobilized quickly to provide crisis intervention services to the victims. The initial response of advocates to victims can have a significant impact on their outlook and situation. more »
  • Provision of a wide array of services, information and opportunities to community members is an integral part of the healing process. Short term response around an incident should ensure these services are in place. more » 
  • After a tragedy, crime victims have numerous long term needs. These needs can be anything from a few days after an incident to needs that last years. After a victims initial needs are met, quality service should still be provided to victims in the long term. more »