Planning for Emergencies in Health Facilities – Training Requirements
Managing emergency compliance for health care facilities can be challenging given the special needs and dependencies of each facility’s operations and occupants. Common issues can include facilities not understanding their emergency planning requirements; motivating staff to be part of the Emergency Control Organisation (ECO); and understanding the importance of emergency response training.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR REQUIREMENTS
To start the discussion, it is important to understand your obligations, but more importantly to have a functioning response capability.
Health and Aged Care Facility owners and managers are required to ensure that their facility is fully compliant, with fire safety and emergency planning regulations to provide a high level of life and fire safety for staff, residents and visitors.
Your Emergency Planning Committee (EPC) needs to include the following roles – chief wardens, wardens and other facility management personnel.
When recruiting members for your ECO, we suggest asking the below personnel –
- Chief Wardens – Senior Registered Nurse, Nurse Unit Manager, After-hours manager
- Deputy Chief Warden/Emergency Coordinator – Shift coordinator and unit coordinator
- Warden/Emergency Officer – Allied health staff
It is important to note that for good planning and as stated in the standard, AS3745 – 188.8.131.52 –
“There shall be sufficient personnel trained in all positions within the ECO to allow for projected absences”.
This is often a challenge for our clients due to rostering processes. Making scheduling personnel aware at the start of the process will help alleviate issues down the track.
To achieve training requirements of AS 4083: Planning for Emergencies in Health Facilities, best practice is to follow AS 3745: Planning for Emergencies in Facilities. First 5 Minutes recommends the following training schedule:
- Members of the Emergency Control Organisation (Chief Wardens & Wardens) – Biannually (1hr)
- General occupant training – Annually (1 hr)
- Skills retention training – Annually (1 hr)
- Emergency Planning Committee meeting – Annually (1 hr)
- Evacuation exercise – Annually (minimum 1 hr every 12 months – dependent on facility size)
Another challenge can be motivating staff to attend training. We can refer directly to the standard for some guidance on this: AS 4083 – section 7
“In order to be trained effectively, staff members have to be convinced of the need for training and its relevance”.
This is clearly the responsibility of the Facility Owner or Manager in the first instance. To assist in achieving the best possible outcome, First 5 Minutes provides informative and engaging training programs including personalised in-person training, online Web-Based Training and VR fire extinguisher training.
What is the need?
To ensure compliance to meet relevant standard, legislation, insurance and licensing requirements
Why is it relevant?
To ensure the safety of individuals, staff, patients/residents, visitors and protection of property.
IMPLICATIONS IF YOUR ECO MEMBERS ARE NOT TRAINED
Implications of not training:
Prior to an incident – disenfranchised staff, unsafe workplace, non-compliance identified by regulators, adverse findings or implications to operating licence.
During an incident – serious injury/loss of life to self/staff/patients/residents/visitors or greater loss/damage of property than necessary.
Post incident – impact on reputation, criminal charges, potential imprisonment (industrial manslaughter), civil litigation, insurance coverage not honoured, lost time injuries, financial impact or implications to operating licence.
In summary, whilst there are challenges within the health and aged care sector when it comes to planning for emergencies, if you understand your requirements and provide the appropriate level of planning and training this will assist in reducing the risk of any negative outcome in an emergency.