Two Reminders of Why Emergency Preparedness Training Matters

If you need a reminder of why it is worth the time to practice emergency drills, please view the CNN video below of a school bus fire and evacuation. A school bus in Iowa caught fire on the first day of the school year with 16 middle school students aboard. Thanks to the school bus evacuation drills the children have been practicing since kindergarten and some quick thinking by two brothers who opened up the rear emergency exits, every single one of the students escaped completely unharmed. When you see the video showing how quickly the fire spread and the damage to the bus, this is an amazing example of how emergency preparedness saves lives.

Another reminder comes from this Salt Lake Tribune story about a high school football athlete who collapsed on the field during practice due to a previously unknown heart condition.  Doctors believe that were it not for his rescuers restarting his heart with a defibrillator, he probably would have died.  When you read the article, you realize that there was a lot more to this rescue effort than just the defibrillator machine.

1.  All the coaches were required to have CPR training and they had just completed a refresher training recently.

2.  One of the coaches knew how to use an AED, perhaps receiving training from his employer on this.

3.  Someone ran to call 911 immediately.

4.  One of his teammates found his cell phone and called his mom immediately.  Perhaps he had her listed as the ICE contact?  This thoughtful act may not have directly contributed to saving his friend’s life but certainly made things easier for his concerned family.

All of this happened within less than 5 minutes!   Perhaps someone took charge and was telling people what to do but it sounds like many of these people were acting on their own initiative.  They quickly assessed the situation and knew what to do.

You can imagine that when it came time to do the work for these emergency drills–the school bus evacuation, the CPR training, etc. people were probably grumbling a bit about “We don’t have time for this.” or “We have never needed to use this.”  but look at the dividends their investments paid!  I also think of Rick Rescorla, the employee profiled in Amanda Ripley’s Unthinkable book, who forced all the Morgan Stanley employees to practice emergency evacuation in their World Trade Center offices.  Nearly everyone in this office got out safely on 9/11, sadly except for Rescorla himself.

Is there some training or knowledge you could use a refresher on?  For me it is definitely CPR/choking/first aid training–especially for children.  A little Googling shows that you can get that training online for not much money.  I will be signing up.