Every coach and team should have a process and system in place to manage medical emergencies or threats to health and safety. Following are the steps to understand and develop an Emergency Action Plan (EAP). 

 

What is an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)?

An Emergency Action Plan is an established process and system to address medical, environmental and security emergencies related to sporting activities. An EAP should address situations including cardiac arrest, head and neck injuries, asthma, heat and cold related issues, allergic reactions and environmental and security risks as they impact the safety of their athletes and personnel.

 

What is the goal of an EAP?

The goal of an Emergency Action Plan is to provide a comprehensive and practical response to an emergency as it may impact personnel, fields/venues. If a certified athletic trainer (ATC) is a part of your organization, he or she should assist leadership in EAP development.

 

Who should know about the EAP?

Leaders in your organization should understand the Emergency Action Plan and be prepared to execute it. The EAP should be shared with all coaches and, in certain circumstances, athletes and parents. It should be in written form and shared with and coordinated by your local Emergency Medical Services EMS. It should include a process to initiate local emergency services and communicate with coaches, athletes, parents and other important groups in a timely manner as appropriate.

 

What should the EAP include?

Your Emergency Action Plan should be specific to your organization, venues, resources, and personnel. It should include maps of fields and access points for emergency vehicles in the event they’re needed. It should identify all medical equipment and ensure equipment, such as an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) or emergency medical bag, is accessible.

 

Where should the EAP be available?

Your Emergency Action Plan should be visible and at the ready. Copies of the EAP should be made visible to staff and athletes as well as located near a phone if one is on site. Additionally, clubs should consider developing a pocket card or credentials with key EAP information.

 

Your Emergency Action Plan should be updated and reviewed annually at the beginning of the season with ALL staff and shared with your athletes.

 

Emergency Action Plans Best Practices Check List

  • Every organization, club or team should develop an EAP to address medical emergencies or threats to personnel health and safety.
  • The EAP should address high risk incidents such as cardiac, heat and other staff and athlete safety matters.
  • The EAP should be reviewed by local emergency services and shared with on-site medical personnel, safety officials and organization administrators.
  • The written EAP should be distributed to ALL staff members (coaches).
  • EAPs should be specific to the venue and include all healthcare providers who may be providing coverage on site including Certified Athletic Trainers ATC or EMS providers.
  • Available emergency equipment on-site should be listed with location site.
  • EAPs should include contact information for local EMS, the club/venue director and venue/location. 
  • The EAP should be reviewed, updated and rehearsed annually by all staff members.

Contributors: Anton Rill, Athletico and Dr. George Chiampas