Stan Szpytek

A ruthless pandemic, raging wildfires, catastrophic hurricanes and the specter of civil disturbance in cities throughout the nation are just some of the emergencies and disasters that senior residing communities have needed to confront over the previous a number of years. Not to say frequent energy failures, small fires, smoke scares, staffing shortages and provide chain disruptions that happen recurrently in all forms of occupancies that present companies to our nation’s older generations.

The query that should be requested is that this: How ought to senior residing communities put together for each conceivable sort of emergency or disaster that they might face on any given day? The reply begins with getting again to the fundamentals.

A colleague with the American Assisted Living Nurses Association who recurrently works with senior residing communities to determine and cut back threat in addition to improve high quality instructed me that she was amazed at what number of staff she interviews who’ve by no means had the expertise of discharging a fireplace extinguisher. This begs the query: How complete are emergency preparedness coaching regimens in senior residing communities if coaching is proscribed to the classroom? 

As a life security and emergency preparedness advisor, I recurrently evaluate emergency protocols in senior residing communities and healthcare services. I usually discover that though many suppliers use sturdy coaching packages which might be delivered in a digital or video format by respected coaching organizations, very restricted hands-on coaching happens in these occupancies. 

Even in relation to the fundamentals of the R.A.C.E. (rescue, alarm, confine, evacuate / extinguish) and P.A.S.S. (pull, goal, squeeze, sweep) procedures, staff usually watch movies on these topics however usually are not given the chance to truly observe these features. Similarly, procedures corresponding to evacuation, sheltering-in-place and lockdown are introduced within the classroom however not essentially exercised in a hands-on capability.

For senior residing group house owners and operators to have real looking expectations that their crew will carry out properly when the “big one” happens, they need to put together their workers members by quite a lot of processes that embrace hands-on coaching, drills and workout routines to correctly handle the day-to-day emergencies that undoubtedly will happen.

Just a few tips to think about:

  • Identify an individual to be your group’s emergency preparedness “champion” to coordinate coaching, drills and workout routines; this particular person ought to possess a ardour for security and preparedness.
  • Work together with your group’s fireplace extinguisher vendor to coordinate hands-on fireplace extinguisher coaching for all workers members.
  • Invest in a fireplace extinguisher coaching simulator that makes use of laser expertise to offer staff with a sensible expertise on the right way to extinguish a fireplace with out beginning an actual fireplace.
  • Contact your native fireplace division or emergency administration company to see whether or not it’ll make it easier to coordinate a disaster drill or different emergency workout routines on the facility.
  • Conduct an emergency lockdown drill the place workers members observe the method of securing residents and the perimeter of the whole constructing or campus.
  • Coordinate an emergency preparedness truthful the place a number of interactive actions can be found in order that workers members can observe issues corresponding to evacuation carries, first assist, CPR and fireplace extinguisher use.
  • Host a Stop the Bleed ( class at your group.
  • Encourage workers participation with the local people emergency response crew program.

Emergency preparedness doesn’t occur by chance. Always keep in mind: It’s a traditional day — till it isn’t. Crisis can strike in a blink of a watch, and now could be the time to degree up readiness at your senior residing group to assist guarantee optimistic outcomes when emergencies and disasters strike.

Stan Szpytek is the president of the nationwide consulting agency Fire and Life Safety Inc., primarily based in Mesa, AZ. He is a advisor for the American Assisted Living Association and is the life security/disaster planning advisor for the Arizona Health Care Association, the California Association of Health Facilities and the Utah Health Care Association. Szpytek is a former deputy fireplace chief and fireplace marshal with greater than 40 years of expertise in life security compliance and emergency preparedness. For extra info, go to or e-mail Szpytek at

The opinions expressed in every McKnight’s Senior Living visitor column are these of the writer and usually are not essentially these of McKnight’s Senior Living.

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