Is your Emergency Response Plan up to snuff?
April 28, 2016
And how do you find out if it is?
Ian McGregor, Ph.D.
The dreaded words ‘Code Red in the Weight Room’ spat out from the Front Desk’s walkie-talkie (Code Red signifies a serious medical emergency). The student supervisor reacted immediately by calling 911 – and reading from a pre-prepared script taped to the desk, told the operator the facility address and exact location of where the fire department or ambulance should come. She then went to meet the emergency responders, and led them to the weight room.
Meanwhile in the weight room, the student supervisor was applying CPR to the male client who had collapsed of an apparent heart attack (it turns out that the client was dead before he hit the floor). The fire department arrived first and took over the scene.
Protocol dictated that for serious incidents or accidents, the Director (me) is called. Arriving at the scene an hour later, I could see no visible signs of the emergency having occurred. Everything had been taken care of. Our attention was now focused on caring for the staff most directly involved in dealing with the incident – in particular the weight room and front desk supervisors.
The client’s wallet had been found, and the authorities were attempting to contact next of kin. It turns out that the address on the Driver’s License was wrong (he had recently moved), so his wife could not be immediately located. In fact, after I left, our front desk was contacted by the deceased person’s wife who explained that her husband had left to work out earlier that day but had not returned. Did we have any information?
When the staff member who took the call informed me of this next day, I was flabbergasted – and instantly wondered how I would have dealt with the call. So I asked her that exact question and she responded: I was quite aware that the gentleman was dead, but I said to his wife ‘Please give me your phone # – I’ll look into this and get back to you’. Wow – how’s that for a response from a 19 year-old student? I’m not sure what I would have said!!
So what’s the point of this story? The situation described above was in fact our ‘worst case scenario’ emergency – since it happened on a Sunday afternoon when only student staff were working. A familiar scenario on many campuses across N. America!
Our emergency procedures had worked to a ‘T’. Student staff were properly trained in:
communicating effectively internally and externally
completing accident report forms
What did we do right? Pretty well everything – since we followed industry-wide best practices for emergency response.
Do you know what the best practices in emergency response are? Want to find out what the Best Practices are – and how you are doing relative to other schools across the country?
Invest in SportRisk’s new ‘Best Practices’ risk assessment tool!
Here’s what Chico State Director of Recreational Sports Kimberly Scott had to say about the program:
“In July of 2015 California State University, Chico had the opportunity to participate in Sport Risk’s new ‘Best Practices’ risk management review conducted by Ian McGregor & Associates. Ian is clearly one of the most knowledgeable and experienced leaders in risk management practices and our institution was excited to be one of the first Universities to use this new evaluation process.
While evaluating our programs we found his work to be innovative, comprehensive, and easy to use throughout all aspects of our various recreation programs. Because of his outstanding work we are using the recommendations as a catalyst for program improvement. Being able to contrast our practices with other NIRSA institutions is invaluable in bringing our programs to a higher standard of excellence. Without hesitation, I would recommend this process to any collegiate recreation program who is interested in current, state of the art, risk management practices. You will find Ian McGregor and Associates to be professional and cost effective in helping you meet your administrative responsibilities.”