With the New Year upon us, it is a great time to evaluate or even reevaluate your organizations emergency response plans. Whether the response is to a medical emergency or a facility emergency, both are equally as important in order to keep your employees or members safe and up to date. Checking your medical equipment, updating your safety center items, such as your AED, first aid kit and supplies, eye wash station, decontamination room (if you have one) and rescue plans should be a regular part of your organizations operational plan.
I am going to focus on the medical items. First, your AED should be kept in a warm, dry and climate controlled area of your facility. The pads and batteries should be current and not expired. Pad and battery expiration is crucial because all manufacturers will only warranty pads and batteries during their useful life. If expired pads are used on a sudden cardiac arrest victim and for some reason they fail and you are sued because of a bad patient outcome, the manufacturer will likely not cover you under their indemnification policy. Also, expired pads and batteries may not deliver the needed therapy to the patient and the rescue may not be successful. Checking expiration dates should part of your organizations routine emergency equipment checks. If you do not have someone assigned to this task, it is in your best interest to do so.
Your first aid cabinet and supplies should be stocked and located in an area of the building that all have access to it during their shift. Be sure to check your supplies for items that have expiration dates such as medication, glucose solutions and saline bottles. If you find these items expired, replace them immediately and start keeping a log on your first aid cabinet of expiration dates. This will help your safety team identify items that need to be replaced quickly.
Finally, is your medical emergency response plan up to date or do you even have one? If you do not have one, 2014 may be a great time to develop one. Ask your local EMS provider for help, as this plan will benefit both you and your EMS provider. Look at the best ways to get EMS/Fire personnel in and out of the building, ask your employees who may be trained in CPR/First Aid and ask them is they can be called if there is an emergency. You may be surprised at how many people are trained and willing to help if needed. Be ready and prepared for any emergency in your facility.