Emergency Response

When Things Don’t Go As Planned

February 25, 2014

The importance of Accident & Incident Report Forms

Maggie Cattell
Aquatic Coordinator
Florida Southern College

It was my first week on the job and my first major event to be working. I was a risk management mentor. A job title that meant little to anyone who worked outside of our own Campus Recreation staff but to those who did work there I was the expert on anything accident or incident related. Whenever something occurred, it was my job to ensure the student staff acted accordingly and my responsibility to step in if they didn’t. I should have known that the combination of the high intensity water polo matches taking place and my own personal magnetism for accidents that something would happen. I was making my rounds when the call came over the radio for an ambulance. I and the supervisor on duty stepped up our fast walk to a run when we heard it was a head/neck/back injury. The lifeguard speaking on the radio was calm and descriptive so I expected for the response I was about to witness to be organized and thorough.

What I found was an upset and concerned lifeguard who was being told that the trainers would take care of the participant and that her services were not necessary. The lifeguard was anxious to provide the care she had been trained to give, the supervisor was irate that our emergency action plan wasn’t going as expected, however I wasn’t sure if we had authority over athletic trainers to call them off. The last thing this situation needed was a power struggle and I chose to reassure the staff and stand by in case the trainer changed their mind and did want our assistance. The toughest part of that day: finding a way to describe this accident in a report form.
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Preparing Your Staff for the Real Deal

January 15, 2014

The Importance of Red Shirt Drills

Gabby Marquez
Aquatics Program Director
Campus Recreation and Intramurals
Georgia Southern University

Henry Ford once said, “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success” and this is true for emergency readiness. Preparing your staff for an emergency can be like riding a bike; they may fall several times, but with practice and patience they will master the skills and they will never fall again. In this article, we will dissect the components of an audit system called ‘Red Shirt Drills’. Red Shirt Drills are scenarios that are put in place to test staff performance during an emergency situation. The main goal of this audit system is to create an environment where the staff can feel ready to perform under stressful situations and the element of surprise is diminished. Red Shirt Drills can be applied to any program area within your recreational facility; aquatics, intramural sports, fitness, facilities and beyond.

Phase 1: Assessing Your Staff’s Prior Knowledge
The main point for this phase is to determine what your staff already know or don’t know about the skills you want to implement. Begin by discussing your goals with the staff. Let them know that during this phase you want them act to the best of their abilities. Written and practical pre-tests can be your greatest tool in this phase. For example, a key component to any emergency response is the responder’s knowledge of CPR/AED and First Aid. To assess their knowledge, start with a written exam from your CPR/AED and First Aid provider. Then, have the staff demonstrate the skills they were asked about in the exam. Document your findings; where do they excel? Where are they weak? Read more

Risk and Crisis Management

April 17, 2013

A Recreation Perspective

Kristen Brosius, M.Ed.
Mary Kate McMahon, M.Ed
Springfield College

June 1, 2011 started like any other late spring day in New England. While a majority of students on the Springfield College campus had gone home for the summer, the recreation facility was bubbling with activity, including summer camps, children’s swim lessons, recreational exercising, and group exercise classes. As the afternoon approached, the sky began to look grey and ominous. Because a tornado is such a rare occurrence in western Massachusetts, few took the tornado warning seriously and continued about their day. Against all odds, a funnel cloud touched down near campus at 4:23 p.m. Instantly, the student and professional campus recreation staff became responsible for the safety of over one hundred visiting patrons.

In any campus recreation setting, planning for a disaster or crisis is an essential component of a comprehensive risk and crisis management plan. The crisis management cycle described by Dunkel, Rollo, and Zdziarski (2007) details the stages: planning, prevention, response, recovery and learning. While many of these steps are tackled on an institutional level, a campus recreation department should have its own highly organized emergency action plan.
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Emergency Response Training: Part 1

April 16, 2013

A Student-Based Team Approach to Prepare for Emergencies

Ryan Rudesill, Interim Coordinator of Intramurals and Sport Clubs
Mo McAlpine, Associate Director
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Editor’s Note: This article is Part 1 of a two part series. Part one focuses on ‘Developing an Emergency Response Team’ while the next issue of the Newsletter will cover ‘Red Shirt Reviews’.

Imagine you are working the front desk at a recreation facility and a student rushes to the counter in a panic, informing you that a participant in a group exercise class has become unresponsive. What do you do? How do your co-workers respond? The broader question: how prepared are you and your staff to deal with this or a similar life-threatening situation?

At the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UW-L), this exact scenario happened in the Recreational Eagle Center (REC) when Clare (who has granted permission to use her name) became unresponsive toward the end of an evening kickboxing class. Due to the efficient and courageous actions of student staff members and participants in the class, Clare’s life was saved. The teamwork of these college students with UW-L University Police, EMS, and the medical team at Mayo Clinic Health System was critical to her survival of a sudden cardiac arrest. Most vital was Clare’s relentless fight for her life while surrounded by supportive family and friends. Approximately one month later, she was back on campus attending classes.
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Emergency Response Training: Part 2

April 16, 2013

A Student-Based Team Approach to Prepare for Emergencies

Ryan Rudesill, Interim Coordinator of Intramurals and Sport Clubs
Mo McAlpine, Associate Director
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Editor’s Note: This article is Part 2 of the series, focusing on ‘Red Shirt Reviews’. Part one discussed ‘Developing an Emergency Response Team’.

In Part 1 of this series we looked at how to form an effective Emergency Response Team (ERT). The current article will describe the role of the ERT in performing ‘Red Shirt Reviews’ – hands-on, mock situations that simulate emergencies. The purpose at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UW-L) is to create a non-intimidating environment with real life situations for staff members to practice and become comfortable implementing EAP’s.

Steps to implement Red Shirt Reviews
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Head Injuries

September 18, 2012

Head Injuries: TBI, Concussion and PCS
What does all this mean and why should we care?

Alison Epperson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Health Ed.
Murray State University

TBI – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), “a traumatic brain injury is defined as a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain.” The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (www.aans.org), categorize TBI as mild, moderate or severe depending on the extent of the damage sustained to the brain. A person who sustains a mild TBI may only exhibit brief changes in mental state or consciousness, whereas a person with a moderate to severe damage can lapse into extended periods of unconsciousness, a coma, or die.

TBI symptoms — Constant or reoccurring headache; inability to control or coordinate motor functions or balance; changes in ability to hear, taste, see, dizziness and hypersensitivity to light or sound; shortened attention span; easily distracted, overstimulated by environment; difficulty staying on task, following directions or understanding information; feeling disoriented or confused; difficulty finding the ‘right words,’ expressing thoughts or slurred speech.

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