First Things First - First Aid

As a business owner, you should be prepared for all kinds of disasters. Disasters don't necessarily have to be big to be a problem. We've spent a lot of time discussing major disasters such as earthquakes, severe weather and even terrorist attacks. What about the small disasters?

By small disasters, we mean things that don't require evacuation or protective measures. So, what kind of disasters are we talking about? How about things that require first aid? Here are some things to think about.

Do you have a First Aid kit? if so, good. Does everyone know where it is? They should! You need to ensure everyone is familiar with the location of the First Aid kit or kits, if you have more than one. You never know when you might need something fast to stop bleeding, ease pain, or other things.

Next, is everything in your First Aid kit up to date or is it full of expired medications? For that matter, is it fully stocked, or is it running low on supplies? It doesn't do any good if it doesn't contain a bandage or medication when you need it. Chances are, if you've had it awhile, some of the supplies have been depleted. Keep it stocked!

Having a First Aid kit is only part of the solution. Does anyone in your workplace know First Aid? Sure, most people can put ointment and a bandage on a cut finger, but what about First Aid training? You should have several trained in First Aid to keep small injuries or illnesses from getting worse.

Now, should everyone in your work area be trained as an Emergency Medical Technician? Probably not. Would everyone benefit from First Aid training? Absolutely!

There are different levels of training, from basic familiarization to a full-blown First Aid course, taught by professionals. This is the best training and you should encourage your employees and associates to take the course, and maybe even pay for some or all of it.

Another thing you can do is have a professional come in and provide basic First Aid training to your team during an off-site or training day. Again, you should probably foot the bill for this, but it is well worth it.

Finally, at the very least, you should have First Aid manuals or guides in the office environment. Encourage your employees to read it. You just don't know know when you might need it.

Above all, never let the idea of having someone trained in First Aid be a replacement for calling 911! Waiting too long could be a disaster, no pun intended If in doubt, call 911 and provide First Aid until the professionals arrive. Have someone outside waiting for the EMTs to direct them to the emergency. If it is nightime, have someone outside with a flashlight to signal them. (You have a flashlight in your Emergency Kit, right?) You want to make it as easy as possible for them to find you!

First Aid is one of the basic things you and your employees need to know to be prepared for disaster. Take steps to learn it now. For more information on emergencies and disasters, take a look here.

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