What's Your First Responder Plan?

Emergency Responders Crew

Most workers have the benefit of a hazard analysis to uncover any potential dangers from their job. But first responders need to expect the unexpected because no two job sites are the same.

In addition to not knowing what they will encounter on scene, first responders also have to contend with who they will encounter on scene—and emergencies can create some unexpected behaviors from people.

Here’s what you can do to prepare for an emergency in your facility.

Create an extensive emergency plan for all workers. This plan should do more than just outline the meeting spot for a fire evacuation. Do your workers know their role if there’s an accident on site? Or what to do in a medical emergency? Ensure your emergency plan includes things like when to evacuate, the designated person to call 9-1-1, the assigned person to wait and direct emergency personnel to the scene, and how to additionally cooperate with first responders.

Eliminate and reduce any potential hazards on site. Administrative controls are often developed to keep people on site informed of emergency measures. But what if your employees are incapacitated and emergency responders have to take over the scene? Will they be exposed to potential hazards when they arrive? Ensure preventative steps have been taken by ensuring possible contaminants are properly stored and labelled.  Document and post all handling, storage and spill procedures. Have clear signs where PPE is required. A good team housekeeping program is another great way to ensure that all hazards are reduced at any given time.

Provide proper training. WHMIS: In Sync with GHS is a great resource to use in conjunction with your emergency response plan. It helps workers to understand hazardous substances and the risks they pose, learn how to recognize and identify hazardous substances, and most importantly, teaches them their role in your facility's emergency response plan.