Medical emergencies can happen anywhere and anytime, especially if the office is not well maintained, unsafe, or unsecured. Hence, it’s necessary to prepare for it. Everyone in the office should be familiar and well acquainted with the emergency plan. In addition, it’s good to review and go over the contingency plan from time to time.
The emergency plan should include a step-by-step procedure on what to do in case of emergencies, first aid training and you can find more information associated with it, restocking the first aid kit, and securing employees’ medical records and emergency contacts. You may consider getting the phone numbers or landline numbers of the nearest hospitals.
If possible, do occasional drills to see if the contingency plan works and make necessary changes. It’s also a good idea to include the building’s blueprint to see alternative escape routes, essential for the designated evacuation sites. And here are some of the steps to do when there are medical emergencies:
1. Create A Disaster Management Team
Create an emergency action plan, consider doing occasional fire and earthquake drills, and test out the plan. Regularly review contingency plans and make changes if needed, especially if there were renovations in the office or new employees and staff. Furthermore, have a designated team to oversee all emergency-related operations. Their duties include training the employees to do basic first aid, creating evacuation plans, and ensuring the alarms are working.
2. Maintain The Office
Maintaining a clean and safe office will lessen the chance of having accidents, leading to most medical emergencies. Thus, it’s good to organize the office space by tidying up the wires, putting up signages, and cleaning up the floor to avoid potential office danger. Moreover, regularly inspect machinery to prevent malfunctioning or damage and possible short circuits aside which can cause electric shock or, worst, fire.
3. Secure Medical Records
Let your employees and staff fill out the medical record. It should contain the following: complete name, address, phone number, emergency contacts, date of birth, height, weight, health issues, allergies, and current medication. It’s necessary to have a medical background on everyone in your workplace; if anything happens, you’d know what kind of aid to give.
You’d also know what type of medication and substitutes to give if needed. Additionally, this is for the paramedics or new doctors to provide proper care and treatment.
4. Have First Aid A Training
After obtaining the medical records, it’s important to have first aid training that covers the most common medical emergencies like burns, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR, dressing the wound, and others. The advantage of having first aid training is that there will be a quicker response in any emergencies. The employees and staff will know what to do and what steps to take to save lives.
- Burn – Assess if it’s a major or minor burn. Major burns are white, brown, or black patches in the affected area and are more than eight centimeters in diameter.
- Major Burn – Apply cold, moist clean cloth on the affected area and cover it. And then call 911.
- Minor Burn Apply for aloe vera and coverage with gauze.
- Chest Pain – It could be an anxiety attack, heartburn, pulmonary embolism or heart attack. Don’t self-diagnose, most especially if it lasts more than a few minutes; call 911.
- Heart Attack – Take aspirin but if the chest pain was caused by an injury, or you have bleeding problems, or if you’re allergic to it, then find a substitute medicine.
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR – If the person is unresponsive, call 911. Open the airway. Check if the person is breathing. Push the chest quickly for 100 to 120 compressions a minute and repeat until they regain consciousness or when the paramedic arrives.
- Nosebleed – You pinch the nose using the thumb and index for ten to fifteen minutes until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, call 911.
- Head Trauma – Call 911. Keep the injured completely still. Look for the source of the bleeding, put a gauze pad over the wound, and apply firm pressure. Watch out for changes in breathing and alertness.
Take immediate action to prevent an injury from worsening, alleviate pain, help the affected recover, and prevent deaths while waiting for the paramedics. In most cases, it’s a matter of life and death.
5. Equip The First Aid Kit
You’re going to need a fully stocked first aid kit to provide the necessary care and be ready for minor injuries and medical emergencies. And with that, you may need to review the medications listed on your employees’ and staff’s medical history; perhaps you can get the exact medication or something similar. But you need to confirm with their physician first.
These are some of the recommended contents of the first aid kit: absorbent dressings, adhesive bandages, adhesive cloth tape, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, aspirin, emergency blanket, breathing barrier, hot and cold compress, non-latex gloves, hydrocortisone ointment, oximeter, gauze bandage, roller bandage, gauze pads, thermometer, triangular bandages, and tweezers. You can add more as you see fit.
6. Stay Calm And Be Alert
In an emergency, it’s best to stay calm but be alert. It will allow you to think critically and make rational decisions. It is to minimize giving the wrong kind of medication or treatment to the injured or afflicted. Moreover, it’s also a good idea to have a buddy system in case you get overwhelmed. Someone can take over or help you out.
Things can get messy and challenging during emergencies, but panicking will do more harm than good. Take deep breaths if you must. Pause for a few seconds, think about what is currently happening, and assess. Focus on the issue, remember what you need to do, then take necessary action.
7. Check Your Surroundings
If anyone’s safety is compromised, look for a safer place to stay while waiting for reinforcements or help. Steer clear from glass, flammable, and hazardous materials. Be careful in transferring the injured person from one place to another, especially if the injury is on the spine. Support the person’s head and neck, make sure it’s in a straight line while moving to a safer place. You wouldn’t want to do more damage as it can be fatal.
8. Know What To Prioritize
If you’re trapped and the only survivor in the room, you should know who and what to prioritize first. Attend to the unresponsive or unconscious because, more often than not, they may have sustained life-threatening injuries which need treatment as soon as possible. Additionally, it’s possible that someone could get multiple injuries, and determining which one to address first can be tricky.
Moreover, always prioritize major medical problems like breathing, blood loss, head, and spinal injuries. Monitor the person’s vitals from time to time while waiting for the paramedics to arrive.
9. Call For Help
Only call 911 if the injured person’s condition is life-threatening situations like heart attack, stroke, seizure, major burn, uncontrollable bleeding, poisoned, and if they are unconscious and unresponsive. If transferring the injured will cause harm or worsen the injury, call for help. Give the following details: name of the injured, what kind of injury or medical condition, current location, and call back phone number if you get disconnected.
It’s important that your office has a good reception or signal or at least have a backup communication means like landlines in strategic areas. Just in case mobile phones are unavailable or out of battery.
10. Help The Paramedics
When the paramedics arrive, give them names of the injured and their condition, let them know what happened, what kind of treatment was given to save time, and avoid repeating the same procedure. You may also give them the medical records so they would know what type of medications or treatment will work for the injured. Additionally, this is also for them to contact the person’s doctor or family.
Your top priority is to ensure that your office is a safe place for you and your employees. Thus, following the guidelines above will prevent most medical emergencies. And to prepare for it, everyone should be well trained, the first aid kit should be stocked, medical records should be updated, there should be a concrete contingency plan, and call for help immediately when faced with a life-threatening situation.
Avoid self-diagnosis to prevent causing more damage or harm and let the paramedics take over. At the end of each emergency, perhaps you can keep a logbook or a record, so you have something to refer to when you review and go over the plans. Thus, you can make better strategies and work on reinforcements, like hiring clinical staff in the office, especially if it’s away from the hospitals.
In addition, preparing for medical emergencies and planning the next course of action is better than having no plans at all. The things mentioned above are only a guide; you may add more as you see fit. It could be improved and adjusted depending on the office setup.
Angela R. Sauceda is a business owner. She enjoys writing occasionally. She also is interested in EMS or emergency medical service and first aid treatments.