Here at Invictus Consulting we have a great deal of experience with the first professionals to arrive at the scene of a crisis – first responders and SWAT teams. A behind-the-scenes look at how first responders and SWAT teams operate may help you as you think about planning and preparing for a crisis.
- 911 reaction time – The average response time for an emergency call is 10 minutes. This means that for the first few minutes after a crisis begins, the people onsite (e.g., employees, students, customers) are the first line of defense and response; in other words, people onsite may need to help severely injured individuals or help neutralize the threat. Counting on first responders and SWAT teams to arrive may mean that more casualties occur than necessary. In your emergency action plan, plan for this reality and make sure to train your employees and students on how to respond. Also, look here for a national review of 911 data collection.
- Local trauma beds – Do you know how may trauma beds there are at your closest hospital? What if the nearest hospital only has 10 trauma beds and your facility has 30 people that need trauma care? Do you know where the wounded will be sent and how to alert their families as to which hospital they’ve been taken? The ugly truth is that a crisis at your location may yield many more trauma needs than can be handled nearby. When we perform a risk assessment for our clients, we include a list of all hospitals within a 25-30 mile radius so that administrators and executives are aware of where the possible locations their people may be taken.
- First responders may step over you – It may surprise you to know that first responders may step over injured people; depending on the type of first responder, some are trained to proceed to the perpetrator and neutralize the threat before attending to the wounded, some are trained to seek out the most wounded first and may step over less wounded to find more wounded individuals, and some are trained to sweep the entire facility before attending to the wounded. So if you are one of the wounded and are lying near an entrance, you may actually be initially bypassed by first responders as they move towards their target. What this means in terms of emergency planning is similar to the first point above (911 response times), namely that the people onsite should be trained to provide basic first aid to other people while waiting for first responders to get to each of the wounded. Stop the Bleed is a DHS campaign to empower individuals to act quickly and save lives by teaching bystanders how to keep injured persons alive until appropriate medical care is available.
Some of the above information may scare you; take that fear and use it to update, improve, or create an emergency action playbook at your place of work, your school, your place of worship, or even your own home.