The Care and Feeding of an Emergency Response Team

Many businesses and corporations have dedicated Emergency Response Teams, sort of….Often these businesses and corporations have the best intentions although for many it’s checking off a box by providing a basic CPR and First Aid class.  The reality is, building a team is more complex than a basic class once a year. A vibrant, effective and efficient Emergency Response Team requires care and feeding. First, it is important to look at why employees volunteer to set aside time out of their busy schedule’s to take training. For some it is not volunteer, it is a requirement of their job. For most, it is something they want to participate in for a variety of reasons. This may include the desire to help fellow employees in an emergency ( “be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem”), having the skills and knowledge to use at home and in their communities and an acquired skill set to add to their resumes`. If you are an EH&S, Security or Facilities manager in charge of an Emergency Response Team Program, here are a few simple suggestions to keep engagement.

  1. Hands-on, Interactive Training Classes – Who wants to sit through someone reading through PowerPoint slides or watching endless videos. Realistic, scenario-based training will keep students engaged and often wanting to know when the next class is being held.
  2. Communication – Emergency Response Team members need at a minimum monthly communications. This might include upcoming training offered, ERT brown-bag lunch events, new information concerning response procedures, or ERT safety fairs for the workplace. Staying in contact keeps the team informed and involved.
  3. Swag – There is nothing more powerful than having something someone else wants. Special ERT identifiers such as badges, t-shirts, hats and jackets with business and/or corporate logo’s with ERT identifiers often provide great incentive.

Whether your Emergency Response Team is new or well established, having a plan to keep your team engaged, interested and enthusiastic will limit the constant resuscitation of the program from the brink of death…