Would you know what to do if something bad happened to a colleague? What if something bad happened to you? Would you trust that others around you would know what to do?
If you're not sure about that, then a little emergency action planning can go a long way to alleviating problems that might arise. The idea is to write down a few important things so that in the event of a serious injury everyone will know the key information to assist in dealing with the emergency.
The most obvious is to jot down your location, and there are several methods available to you for doing so. If you are stuck out in the woods, in the middle of a field or somewhere where there may not be an obvious address, you could use a grid reference or latitude / longitude. If you're working at a known address, then make sure all know what it is (and include the post code if possible).
Taking the scenario above of working in the middle of field, there's a chance that a normal ambulance may not be able to reach you, in which case you've potentially got a couple of choices...
- Request an air ambulance (coverage across the UK is pretty good, and the coastguard might be used if you are at a coastal location).
- Request a 4x4 ambulance.
But what if you happen to pick the day when the air ambulance is busy on another emergency and the 4x4 ambulance is having it's MOT? In that case,
cry make plans to evacuate the casualty - you've a couple of options here as well...
- Load the casualty in to the back of the van and take them to hospital yourself - you do know where your nearest hospital is don't you? If not, use the search facility on the NHS website (for those of you in the UK).
- Ask the emergency services to meet you at a pre-arranged point where a suitable response can be handled. Write down the grid reference / address of this meeting point.
Think about how you would contact the emergency services - these days it's quite likely that you'll be opting to call using your mobile phone, but there are two disadvantage of this 1) the state of the battery, and 2) the strength of the phone signal. Other than keeping your phone charged, there's not much you can do about battery condition, but if you find that there's no signal where you're working then take a few minutes out to stroll around the site - more often than not you'll find a spot where a signal can be gleaned.
What number are you going to dial from your mobile phone in the event of an emergency? 999? There's a better number, and you should remember it!..
This number is operator independant - which means that if you are with Vodafone, for example, but only O2 have the area covered, your call will be picked up. Not only that, but it will also pinpoint your location - how cool is that?
Speaking of "cool" - have you come across 'ICE' entries for mobile phones? It always amazes me that most people have not come across this! In this context 'ICE' stands for In Case of Emergency and all you need to do is amend your next of kin's name in your phone to have ICE before it. Let's say your NOK is Fiona - in the phone, instead of just being listed as "Fiona", you would list it as "ICE Fiona"; now the emergency services can scroll through the names in your phone and immediately recognise who your NOK is.
Finally, it's probably a good idea to keep a note of anyone who carries a medi-alert tag, is diabetic / epileptic / suffers from certain allergies (e.g. bee or wasp stings).
Next post... chainsaw safety features.