Incident Handling Protocols
Proper incident and claim handling begins long before there is an injury. It is critical that an organization not only have first aid and emergency protocols in place, but that each staff member who is potentially on duty is thoroughly familiar with all of the appropriate procedures and has access to all of the necessary apparatus, equipment, and documentation. The organization that demonstrates care and concern, administers suitable medical care, and does not unwittingly assume liability has both rendered a public service and minimized its exposure to litigation.
The basics are simple:
HAVE A PLAN… TEACH THE PLAN… PRACTICE THE PLAN…
- Have emergency action plans that address every potential circumstance, e.g., medical emergency, fire, evacuation, severe weather, earthquake, civil disobedience, bomb threat, etc. For additional information please see our web site, Risk Management Topics section, Emergency Action Plans (EAPs).
- Prepare for every foreseeable contingency, including those that are unlikely to occur.
- Maintain current procedure documentation in clearly marked, easily accessible locations.
- Include a standardized incident report form to be used throughout your organization as part of your plan. This will help provide more timely and accurate reporting of incidents or claims as well as accumulate data to identify and eliminate frequent causes of injury. A sample of such an incident report can be found on our web site in the Risk Management Topics section.
- As medical incidents will probably be your most common emergency, clearly address:
- the necessity of rendering immediate, appropriate first aid when needed;
- the procedure and timing for notifying a supervisors;
- the procedure and timing of obtaining outside medical assistance;
- the procedure and timing for notifying the parents;
- where an incident report may be found, who should complete it, when it should be completed, and where it should be submitted;
- Teach everyone on your staff what to do in case of whatever emergency they may be required to face.
- Cover every contingency (for only then can you be confident of adequate performance).
- Remember every new hire (for you are only as prepared as your least-ready employee).
- Place no patron, guest, or employee in a vulnerable position. Make certain everyone who is on duty knows the protocols to follow, how to apply them, where to find a written copy of them for review, and who, when, and how to contact off-site assistance.
- Train and retrain your staff. An emergency situation causes most people to forget things, and often makes common sense very uncommon. At a minimum review frequently. Only rote mechanical actions are remembered if frequently completed.
- Book learning and head knowledge are not enough; the actual skills must be developed.
- Practice drills and hand's-on first-aid practice using human “victims” is invaluable.
- Cheat sheets are great because forgetting critical steps while under stress is very common.