8 Things you should do in an emergency

Emergency Response Officer Training

EROPic1

What is an emergency?

I quite enjoy asking my groups this question and hearing their responses. We all have our own perception on what actually constitutes a real life emergency. During my courses, being able to define an emergency isn’t my main concern, it’s how the trainees can deal with the situation that I want to see.

The full definition of an emergency is:

“A Situation requiring urgent assistance, poses an immediate threat to life, health, property or environment. Has already caused loss of life, health detriments, property damage or environmental damage. Has a high probability of escalating to cause immediate danger to life, health property, and the environment.”

As mentioned above, I wont teach people on how to memorise the meaning of an emergency, i’ll tech them how to deal with one. Our new Emergency Response Officer Training course is designed exactly for that. In this course, delegates are taught exactly what to do and how to react in a full scale emergency. Whether it’s an environmental emergency, fire or terrorist attack, the Emergency Response Officer will be trained on exactly how to deal with the situation.

These 8 responsibilities are what I would expect from a fully trained ERO in an emergency situation –

Identify the incident

As soon as the emergency has happened or is still on going, there will be a lot of confusion and panic. Whilst the number one priority is always safety, the dedicated ERO should try to identify what is happening or what has happened. The clearer the information that we have on what the emergency is, the better information we can relay onto the appropriate emergency services.

Assess the situation

The first thing to remember before and during the assessment of any situation is safety. Our own safety as well as the others around us. The ERO is taught to identify the hazards, assess the risk, eliminate the risk and always consider the changing of circumstances. From this assessment, clearer decisions can be made. It is advised that these points are noted down or logged for reporting to emergency services.

Report findings

Once the ERO has established what the situation is, it is important to get this information reported as quickly as possible. Reporting the findings to other members of staff, management, control room or the emergency services. Setting clear communication channels is vital in this moment. Phone systems might be down, cellular signals may have dropped in a large scale event and there is expected to be large amount panic in the close vicinity. Being prepared with several communication channels is important. The use of log books is encouraged for keeping on top of the information being given or receiving.

Contact the emergency services

When contacting the emergency services, it is vital that all the necessary information is given as clearly as possible. Identify yourself and your role to them, in a situation like a terrorist attack, the emergency services need as much intelligence as they can get. If you are the dedicated ERO for the building, location or event then you will have a better understanding of the surrounding area. From your identification and assessment of the situation, you will have more knowledge on what the emergency is, if there are casualties, what type of casualties there are, best access points to the area and what hazards they might face e.g. gas leak or active knife attacker.

Control access and egress

In a busy event or building, ensuring everyone can get out safely without causing more harm or injury to themselves or others is extremely important. It is also vital that the emergency services have a clear entry and exit to the buildings as well. If there is a mass evacuation through the main entrance to a building then it will be extremely difficult for emergency service crews to enter that building through that entrance. In most circumstances, there is an evacuation protocol. Practice this regularly and identify areas that could be improved. Seek the advice from the local authorities to help on this matter. The information they give you will be key to ensuring that in an emergency, everyone can get out as quickly and as safely as possible.

Location and description of event

As mentioned above, the information that is given to the emergency services is vital. When giving the location, try to be as specific as possible. Having hard copies of building diagrams can help with this. Building schematics can help identify the exact location of the incident and can help direct the specific services to that area. Use descriptions if unsure of the exact location, landmarks can help. If you are in an area that you are completely unsure of then the mobile phone app OS Locate is a great tool for identifying your precise location using your coordinates.  when describing the event, only tell the emergency services exactly what you know for certain. In a panic situation, it is very difficult to establish exactly what has happened from other peoples accounts. Don’t guess what could have happened only tell them exactly what you have found from the identification and assessment of the situation.

Initial briefing

It is important to have emergency protocols and documents in place such as; Emergency Plan, Crisis Management Plan, Business Continuity Plan, log books and first aid/health and safety files. During the initial briefing, referring to certain documents and protocols that staff are aware of will help ensure everyone knows what to do. When briefing the emergency services, give as much information as possible in a clear and organised manor. During the reporting and assessing of the incident, it can be helpful to keep a log of events with rough timings on them. This will help and ensure that no information is left out. When briefing or talking to the public, be honest and direct, show authority in a calming manner but do not encourage further panic.

Assist victims/witnesses/emergency services

Emergency Response Officers have a duty of care when they are working. Whilst expressing that duty of care, their own safety is vital. ERO’s are taught that before assisting victims or witnesses, the area is completely safe from any further danger. Once this has been established, then they can assist victims by using accepted first aid practices. During a situation like an explosion or active attacker, the wounds and injuries people sustain can be catastrophic. An ERO is taught how to deal with and manage these types of wounds as well as basic life support. When speaking to witnesses it is important to get the key pieces of information; what happened, who was involved, how many, when did it happen and where did it happen? Open ended questions allow you to get the exact information you need. Comparing witness statements together can also give a clearer picture of the incident. Finally, when assisting the emergency services, do as you are told. If they tell you to leave the area immediately then do so. As much as we would like to help them, they are the trained professionals and having people hanging around can cause more problems. Do what they say and always cooperate.

These are just some points that are taught throughout the 2 day accredited Emergency Response Officer training course that Right Track Training are now delivering. This course is ideal for anyone working within the security or events sectors. If you would like any information or to find out when our next course is then feel free to contact us. 

 

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