Three Emergency Response Team (ERT) Training Must Haves
-By Micah Bongberg Google+ | @annuvia
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Dedicated, engaged Emergency Response Teams (ERTs) are hard to find. More common are teams which began with great enthusiasm, received some basic training from their firm’s internal personnel, and subsequently became disengaged due to inconsequence, a reduction is sustained excitement, or similar feelings of inadequacy and irrelevance. Emergency preparedness training must advance a culture of safety that will trickle down throughout an organization and become pervasive. Such an end-result is best met with executive-level support, and simple, carefully designed goals. The object being firm-wide adoption and complete buy-in from all departments, workplace safety planners strive to create training programs which will engage and encourage employees, and ultimately lead to future requests for more frequent and consistent exercises. Three must have Emergency Response Team training sessions which will help capture mindshare and lead to a safer workplace are:
1. Evacuation Planning – Above and beyond regulatory standards requiring many businesses to conduct regular evacuation drills, properly planning and preparing employees for an evacuation using realistic techniques, offers organizations many opportunities to build and refine the skills of their employees. Proper evacuation planning should include flexible positions, roles, and responsibilities as well as an incident command structure which allows for scalability and transfer of care to professionals. Many additional training opportunities exist with a well planned evacuation drill. For instance, organizations can practice crisis communication, medical emergency response, business continuity integration, and more.
2. CPR and AED Training – To properly engage employees and promote widespread attendance and participation, organizations must train their employees in skills which are transferable between the office and home. Employees who understand that they’re broadening their understanding and ability to help their own friends and family are much more likely to participate. CPR and first aid training are courses that offer just this. This mantra becomes much more meaningful when the training consists of matters of life and death. When employees learn the frequency of preventable deaths due to sudden cardiac arrest (350,000 times per year) and just how important a role the bystander plays, participation flourishes. Moreover, when familiarizing staff with the tools needed to save lives, such as the organization’s automated external defibrillator (AED), training exercises become much more exciting and fun.
3. Basics of Emergency Response and Incident Command Structure – There are several reasons this course is important for businesses and their employees. After receiving training in the important courses mentioned above, organizations, management, and their employees are now engaged. Its time to capitalize on this momentum and, importantly, put their whole program together. Employees know what to do during major and minor emergencies, but who does what and when is it done? By properly implementing a high-level Incident Command Structure course, organizations can determine their “call-out” procedures, ERT notification processes, and escalation protocols. Now, when a business is faced with an emergency situation they’re not stuck with many, engaged, properly trained responders looking around for direction. Rather, they’re working together as a cohesive team. “Mark, activate the ERT. Sam, go get the AED unit. Teresa, call 911 and hold the elevator!” In addition to teaching the necessary involvement and organizational hierarchy for ERT members, Incident Command courses allow workplaces an opportunity to provide active drills, movement, action, and learning-through-doing exercises. Experience indicates such training more frequently keeps members’ mind-share and attention.
Businesses have many opportunities to provide training for their employees, but with opportunity costs associated with employees’ time, changing attitudes and mindshare based on a program’s success, and the need to capture every training moment they have, it is imperative courses are selected appropriately and time, resources, and any investments are used most efficiently. Sticking to these three basic ERT training exercises, businesses will engage staff, capture interest, and create a systemic culture of safety – leading to requests for more training and more safety.