CPR and First Aid training are great investments of both time and financial resources.  Human resources are a company’s greatest asset and must be protected. Most organizations send a group of trusted employees to be trained on emergency response techniques, but as a company, are you really doing all you can to make sure employees are prepared in the event of an emergency? Workers attend the classes, take notes, and practice the response methods but many do not stop to think about how these events are going to unfold and if a successful lifesaving action could be executed for a friend, co-worker, or family member.

Many times in the unfortunate event of a serious injury or illness, businesses and their employees discover that even though they trained their employees in CPR and First Aid, they were still extremely unprepared. Each place of business and emergency situation is different. Response times for local EMS units vary, skill levels and personalities among employees vary, and most CPR classes do not provide workplace specific information. Attending a CPR and First Aid class is only one small part of having an effective first response function. In order to be successful, additional preparation and training is needed for the general population.

As a CPR Instructor working in the Loss Control field, I hear many horror stories from my participants about incidents gone bad. Many times it’s due to a lack of communication. And almost always the incidents could have been prevented by better preparation. One example of a preventable incident occurred when a responder didn’t know how to make a call for help or explain to EMS dispatchers how to find or enter the location.  Responders and employees alike must have a clear understanding of how each situation needs to be handled from beginning to end, and an understanding of how they fit into the process. Below are 5 tips that will help you fine tune your response team and feel confident in your abilities.

  • Have a Meeting. Assemble your responders after the CPR Training Class to discuss common scenarios and develop a course of action. Things that should be covered include:
    • Local EMS response times and making the call for help
    • Locations of supplies and equipment such as PPE and Defibrillators
    • Discussion ensuring coverage on all shifts and work days
    • Defined rolls for responders
    • Controlling the general population
    • Discussions about a code system or other ways of notifying responders and others in the building
  • Develop a code system. This serves many purposes but most importantly notifies other responders that an emergency has occurred and help is needed in a certain location. Responders should be trained to immediately respond to the location dispatched with the code, and the general public must be warned to remain in their designated areas unless otherwise instructed.
  • Put together a first responder kit. A first responder kit is a great way to organize your supplies in a known location that responders can quickly reach in the event of an emergency. In large facilities with multiple departments it may be a good idea to have multiple kits. A backpack should contain items such as: latex gloves, goggles, face masks, scissors, alcohol swabs, first aid supplies, means for hair removal and a bed sheet for privacy. Kits should be placed in areas that offer easy access. If a defibrillator is available, the kit should be placed in close proximity. Responders should be trained on these locations and the contents of each kit.
  • Have a drill. It’s a great idea to have a series of drills with responders to practice the techniques learned in the CPR training course. This is where you really implement and fine tune your facility specific components. This is also a great time to discuss and practice “Buddy CPR” which is very effective when local response times are high. (A helpful hint: come to an agreement about how long each person will do compressions or breaths before switching when doing buddy CPR. 2 minutes is a good rule of thumb because most AED’s have a 2 minute window built in for CPR between each analysis.) Emergency drills give responders an opportunity to perform in a workplace setting and build their confidence.
  • Make everyone aware. During an all-employee meeting, spend some time letting everyone know about the efforts that are being put into the emergency response team. Make them aware of any drills that have been conducted and how they turned out. It’s also a very good idea to give them a rundown of any newly developed codes and what each one means. It’s very important that during this discussion you reiterate the importance of all non-responders staying in their designated areas during emergencies to prevent confusion. Have all your first responders stand up so that the general population can see who they are and ask the employees to give them a round of applause for their time and efforts. This much deserved publicity for the responders and their efforts builds moral among your responders and helps keep them enthused about participating. It also sparks the interest of the non-responders and helps with the overall safety culture and moral. Most people feel good knowing there is a trained and competent response team.

CPR and First Aid is a very important part of any emergency preparedness plan. While there are no guarantees for success, you can greatly improve your odds by implementing and practicing the methods mentioned above.

KEMI does not assume liability for the content of information contained herein. Safety and health remain your responsibility. This information is to be used for informational purposes only and not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for proper training, supervision or manufacturers’ instructions/recommendations. KEMI, by publication of this information, does not assume liability for damage or injury arising from reliance upon it. Compliance with this information is not a guarantee or warranty that you will be in conformity with any laws or regulations nor does it ensure the absolute safety of any person, place or object, including, but not limited to, you, your occupation, employees, customers or place of business.