Emergency response training is vital in order to identify, evaluate and avoid hazards in the workplace or at any event. It is important to prepare for the likelihood of an incident like a fire or a bomb threat or bomb detonation. This not only ensures that one can respond quickly to a threat, it can save lives and possibly prevent further damage. The worst thing one can do is to assume that something bad can’t happen to them.
The Australian Bomb Data Centre analyzes the experiences of international law enforcement agencies that have dealt with all types of bomb threats, detonations, and clean-ups. Safety procedure policies are then created based on this data, that can help counter bomb threats. These procedures include data on types of explosions, motivation for such an act, and emergency response training procedures. These reports and procedures are available to everyone from building managers, to hospitals to government agencies.
Know How To Recognize The Signs Of A Potential Bomb Threat
Bomb threats may be prevented if one knows what to look for. The most common mistake is racial profiling. Did you know that most bomb threats in the U.S. and Australia were carried out by people of Anglo Saxon appearance? In fact, some of these terrorists were women recruited by terrorist cells to do their bidding. It’s also important to know that the bomb threat may not come from someone with ties to a terrorist group but rather a disgruntled employee or someone protesting against a social agenda like abortion rights or a politician they are in disagreement with.
Emergency response training allows staff members and security officers to be on alert for unattended packages, luggage, bookbags, or even a handbag and how to best handle a possible bomb threat.
How To React To A Called-In Bomb Threat
With appropriate emergency training, a staff member will be aware of how to proceed should he or she receive a bomb threat via phone. This is more common amongst government buildings, convention centers, schools, and banks. Knowing how to question a terrorist over the phone calmly while trying to get the location and expected time of attack is vital to preventing the attack from occurring.
What Are You Protecting?
The first thing you should weigh in is how valuable of a target a building or event is. A government building would require stricter security measures as opposed to an entertainment center. However, one must consider what type of event might be held at a convention center. For example, if a convention if being held for a political figure, then one must treat the event with the same security considerations as a government building.
Get To Know The Building
Emergency Response Training should include familiarizing emergency procedure specialists, staff members, and volunteers with all exits, location of fire extinguishers, location of first aid kits, and security camera blind spots. This will allow for better development of emergency procedures.
It’s important to consider all possible contingencies for the safe evacuation of staff and the general public during a bomb threat. Safety procedures should be implemented in case the main exits have been compromised by fire or an explosion. This will give people access to a second and possibly third evacuation route during a disaster.
Contacting Emergency Services
Draw up and discuss your emergency plans with your local police, fire department, and rescue services. Staff members, event organizers, and even rescue services should be aware of who is in charge during a major incident. Some companies designate a hazard team leader for each department.
Developing An Emergency Plan
The main priority during a bomb threat should be to get people out of immediate danger. The next step would be to contact emergency services right away. When they arrive, assist if possible but do not get in their way. One can help to handle casualties by identifying and separating the critically injured with those that don’t have life threatening injuries.
A bomb threat or bomb explosion will produce panic and chaos. So it’s a very good idea to separate those that are extremely shaken up but uninjured away from triage areas so that emergency response teams can tend to the injured.
In the event that an incident has occurred, or if a threat of an incident has been called in, staff members should pull an alarm and inform the crowd at an event or co-workers in a building. However, this must be done carefully in order to avoid a panic that would most likely create more injuries. Should order not be maintained, there is a risk that people could rush down the stairs and trample over others who have stumbled. A lack of direction could inadvertently send people running straight into an area where they can become trapped by fire or an area where the structural integrity of the building has been compromised.
Until emergency services arrive, one should attempt to contain a fire if possible with fire extinguishers. Of course, helping to coordinate an evacuation is necessary too. Crowd management can mean the difference between life and death.
Evacuating The Disabled
Evacuating people with disabilities is vital. During a bomb threat or fire, a wheelchair bound, blind individual, or even someone on crutches, may not be able to use an elevator. Therefore, it is important to have a plan in place on how to evacuate someone with a disability in a safe and timely manner. Designating one or two individuals to assist those with a disability is the best option.
First Aid and Medical Assistance
Emergency training must include first aid to provide necessary assistance to those injured until an ambulance arrives. Knowing how to stop excessive bleeding, dressing wounds, performing CPR, and using a defibrillator is key during a disaster. Having emergency medical provisions readily available throughout key locations in the building will allow staff members to be ready should the worst occur.
Organization Is Key
It is important to know who the designated safety hazard leader is so that the staff knows who to follow. A clear hierarchy for these situations is important. You don’t want too many people shouting out instructions as this may create chaos and confusion while trying to get to safety. The safety leader must be knowledgeable in the location of exits, best possible exit strategies and location of emergency equipment like first aid or hand held lights.
Plan an escape route ahead of time. The designated escape route must remain unobstructed at all times. One blocked route during an incident could result in confusion, injuries and death. Make sure that there are signs and maps on the walls that display the escape routes. This will be especially helpful during events or for guests visiting a building like a bank or government site. Emergency lights should be tied to a generator or battery powered energy source in case main power is cut off.
Planning And Rehearsing
There is nothing better than preparing for the worst. To that end, a series of drills should be conducted every three months to prepare staff for the likely event of a disaster. This not only helps staff members to practice evacuation procedures, it also allows department heads to identify flaws in the emergency procedures and revise them when necessary.
Whether you are a first responder such as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, a paramedic, or an event planner or staff member, you would be surprised by how much you can benefit from training for emergency procedures and bomb threat prevention. Topics addressed in these classes allow emergency responders to see the aftermath resulting from suicide bombers, small package bombings, or car bombings. They even get to observe detonations and receive instructions on how to proceed during a bomb threat. Those who have gone through training actually come to realize that they would have done things differently and perhaps less efficiently had they not gone through the appropriate training.