A pre-determined emergency action plan allows for the proper assessment and care of athletes who have suffered injury or sudden illness. In emergency situations, the luxury of time is not available. Injuries can be dealt with quickly and efficiently if you have a clearly defined emergency action plan.
Whenever it is practical or appropriate, the emergency action plan should be prepared in conjunction with local paramedics, hospital emergency departments, sports physicians, school nurses, and other health care professionals associated with the team. As part of the plan, assign key roles to people within the organization.
The charge person (usually the sports trainer) is the designated person most capable of handling injuries and incidents. It is the charge person who decides, for example, if an ambulance is needed. The call person, usually appointed by the charge person, must be reliable and is responsible for calling the ambulance. This person must know where the telephones are located, and be prepared with information about the injury to be relayed over the phone. If necessary, another reliable person should be identified to take charge of crowd control.
The protocol must also include an emergency phone list outlining local numbers for the hospital, police, fire department, poison control, etc. There should also be instructions for calling an ambulance and a script of what should be said. An emergency phone card can be posted in the first aid kit, and if appropriate, on the wall next to the designated telephone. You must also consider where the telephones are located in each of the facilities you use. Are these phones always accessible, or are they located in locked rooms? Will coins be necessary to make a call? Is the area serviced by the 911 emergency number? Will a cellular phone available?
Next, you will want to ensure that you have up-to-date emergency contact numbers for each of the players. If necessary, make corrections to your medical history cards and ensure that the information is readily available in the first-aid kit or elsewhere on the sidelines.
Finally, always check the emergency access route. Are there locked gates to be concerned with? Could an ambulance easily pass through? Is there a visible point that emergency personnel can be directed to if necessary?
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