Catastrophic injuries are not a frequent occurrence at a dance studio, but unfortunately some do occur involving both students and guests. Often an effective response strategy is not in place. By establishing and practicing an emergency action plan (EAP), you and your staff can be prepared to manage a severe injury until additional help arrives.
How you develop an EAP depends on your dance program’s activities. Like a dancer, your plan should be limber. The following guidelines can be used to help structure your plan:
- Start your plan by recruiting a planning team. An EAP planning team may involve other instructors, students (particularly if you have students with prior medical experience), parents, and local emergency personnel, along with anyone else you feel that can add benefit to your team.
- Identify who will make what phone calls and in what order. Post emergency numbers or program emergency numbers in your phone. Specify whether a person making a call needs to dial “9” or another number prior to dialing “911” to reach an outside line. Post your facility’s address near the phone for quick reference. Keep a student emergency information sheet updated and near the phone as well, being mindful of privacy concerns.
- Develop plans for medical emergencies that may occur in your dance program. Specify duties and responsibilities for those on your team. These duties and responsibilities should be carefully outlined in a simple, concise format. Establish a plan for managing concussions, should one occur. You can learn more on concussion management at impacttest.com.
- Identify facility issues specific to your location, and identify potential issues that involve off-site venues as well. Know the location of emergency medical equipment, communication devices, emergency exits and shelters, elevators, alarm systems, and areas that will serve as meeting locations. Develop a map or written directions that will support easy access to equipment and the facility by external help.
- Assess equipment issues. After knowing the type of equipment available and where it is stored, designate someone to inspect and maintain it regularly. Keep a log of any maintenance performed. Consider installing an Automatic Electronic Defibrillator (AED) and train your staff on how to use it.
Once you have developed an action plan designed for handling emergencies, practice it. While practice not only increases a skill set, it also helps responders remain calm and confident. Practice makes perfect!