Who You Gonna Call? Simplifying Emergency Phone Protocol

When an accident occurs on the job, if the very first call being made isn't to 911, it had better be to the on-site medical staff. There are facilities where a sort of "chain-of-command" procedure is in place for responding to emergencies: The first call is made to the foreman, and then the foreman calls the security guard, and then the security guard calls his boss, and then the boss calls the client, and then once the client gives the greenlight, the security boss calls the nurse, and then... it can be ludicrous how many steps need to be taken before an ambulance can be dispatched to the jobsite.

The most important thing for everyone involved is to get help on the way. This needs to be the first priority. There are other bases that need covered, but every extra second it takes for the first-responders to get there is another second in which a bad situation can get worse. Every other consideration that you have in the event of an emergency will only be compounded by dragging the first-response process out.

In essence: Whatever problems you're trying to avoid by calling somebody else before you call the on-site medics or 911, you're not actually going to wind up avoiding those problems if an injury worsens while waiting for all of those calls to go through.

This being said, it is important to coordinate efforts. When someone is hurt on the job, the whole team really needs to function as a unit to ensure that things go smoothly. Someone will likely need to escort first-responders to the injured person, someone will need to contact the client, security, the insurance company and so on. The aim is not to just call 911 and let them handle it, but to streamline the whole process.

A few points to bear in mind when developing a plan for responding to emergency:

- Everyone should know their job, who it is they're supposed to call to update them on what's happened.

- First-responders need to be the first people contacted.

- You need to coordinate as you go. If you've called 911, send the message down the line that 911 has been called. Keep everyone on the same page.

- The fewer middlemen the better. Don't turn it into a literal game of Telephone.

In making sure that a bad situation doesn't get worse, the keyword is: Simplify. 

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