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Summer 2021: Emergency Action Planning for Per Diem Work

With summer fast approaching, we know that per diem work is increasing for many athletic trainers. When it comes to per diem work, athletic trainers may be unaware of the site’s emergency action plan, or how to create one themselves. In this article, we will be discussing important topics to consider when creating an emergency action plan for per diem work.

First, make sure to have a correct physical address to give to a dispatcher. Be aware of which entrance is best for EMS access and if a key or special access is needed to allow entry. It is also important to familiarize yourself with hospitals and other medical facilities in the surrounding area. Knowing the location of the nearest level 1 trauma center can be vital in your emergency response. Communication with local EMS and medical facilities should be implemented while developing your emergency action plan prior to an event.

Next, understand what emergency equipment is available and where it is located. Will you be able to easily access the equipment you may need? This should include an AED but may also include other items such as a bag-valve-mask or airway management equipment. Use of some of these items depends on your training, protocols from your overseeing physician, and state practice act.

Consider what type of event you are planning to cover and if you are the only AT or medical personnel on site. Know where you will be stationed and if other staff is available to help, where they will be located. Having a plan for communication is crucial. Will you need radios or cell phone numbers to communicate with other staff on site in case of an emergency? You should also consider if the facility has its own security staff and if there is a number other than 9-1-1 that you need to call first to activate the emergency response system.

Weather should also be factored into your EAP. Who has the authority to make a final decision on when to stop play due to weather? Locate a ‘safe place’ where athletes, coaches, spectators, and other staff should go in case of inclement weather.

One of the more challenging aspects of per diem work is being unfamiliar with the athletes and their medical history. It’s important to know if you will have access to pertinent information such as medical history of the athletes participating. Is that information on paper or online? Will you have that information from the event coordinator or will individual coaches have it with them?

This brings us to the next point, which is documentation. You must be aware of what injury documentation is required by the site. If they do not have a system in place, you should formulate appropriate injury reporting documentation that you and other staff can use. Should an injury occur and an injury report is needed, make sure to contact or send the documents to the appropriate individuals. Is there a chain of command that needs to be followed or alerted in case of an emergency?

The key to a successful emergency action plan is education and communication. Make sure all parties involved are aware of and understand the EAP that is in place prior to an event. Practice the plan by running through a mock emergency to test how well you and all other event staff know the EAP and to ensure successful completion.

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