The Stress Continuum

The stress continuum model is a visual tool for assessing your own and others' stress responses. It forms the foundation for SFA, which was first developed for Navy and Marine Corps Servicemembers. 

The crux of the stress continuum model is that stress responses lay along a spectrum of severity and type. Every person will react when faced with severe enough or extended enough stress. However, the way in which a person responds will depend on his or her preparation for and interpretation of the stressor events. During the course of this response, a person's state can change from Green to Yellow to Orange to Red zone, and back again.

First responders may try to conceal stress reactions from supervisors because they fear stigma and because they want to avoid medical or psychological intervention. However, recognizing the signs of Orange zone stress in oneself or a peer, and taking steps to lessen the severity, is important. Practicing self-care or helping connect a peer with trusted support may help prevent stress reactions from progressing into the Red zone. 

Four types of stress are most likely to move someone into the Orange zone: