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Emergency Rescue – What Equipment Do You Need?
It’s every employer’s goal to reduce the risk of accidents as much as they can. No incidents and no injuries are ultimately what every business strives for. Unfortunately, that goal isn’t always possible. Accidents happen, as does the failure of equipment, human error, and severe weather.
There are all sorts of emergencies
The type of incident you could be facing at the worksite depends to some extent on the type of industry you’re in. For instance, a mining company could be at risk of a tunnel cave-in and need to be prepared to rescue trapped employees. A chemical manufacturer, on the other hand, is unlikely to be at risk of a cave-in but needs to have a plan in place to deal with the effects of a chemical spill. This will involve an efficient evacuation plan which removes employees to a safe place before any fumes from leaked materials can damage their lungs.
Given the diversity of site-specific dangers, there really is no easy answer as to what type of emergency rescue equipment your company may require. Instead, you’ll need to carefully perform a risk evaluation to determine the type of hazards your workers face and what type of equipment you should keep on site, in case things go wrong.
First aid kits
While every industry has its own set of hazards, some basic emergency rescue equipment will remain consistent throughout.
Every rescue team should have a fully stocked first aid kit. If your kit isn’t designed specifically for rescue operations, it should be checked on a regular basis to ensure that no items are running low on stock. This should be the responsibility of a designated health and safety officer. In addition, you might want to consider investing in our Kitcheck app which automatically checks and reorders new stock for your first aid kits.
Even if your first aid kit is designed specifically for rescue operations and is restocked afterwards, it’s still a good idea to inspect the contents regularly to ensure that nothing is out of date or has been compromised.
Your emergency rescue plan needs to consider all the seasons. Someone in need of rescue on a sweltering hot summer day could be experiencing heat stress which needs immediate attention. A rescue team should have cold water and cooling towels in case the person being rescued is dehydrated and needs to be cooled down before their symptoms get any worse.
Likewise, if a person is being rescued in the middle of winter, they could be at risk of hypothermia. Blankets, gloves, and other items to warm them, could be an essential component of your rescue equipment.
If you happen to live in a hurricane zone, you could find yourself having to rescue worked trapped beneath debris that’s been caused by damaging winds. Access to heavy lifting equipment, stretchers and oxygen, could be essential to perform a rescue following a natural disaster. Several torches will also be required if your team needs to locate any workers not accounted for.
A thorough hazard assessment should give you a good idea of what kind of rescue situations you may face.
While this isn’t about equipment it’s important to mention that anyone attempting a rescue without having the right equipment, knowledge, and skills, runs the risk of making matters worse.
Of course, it matters to have the right equipment, but it won’t always make that much difference if rescuers don’t know how to use it or when.
There is no price on being prepared
Specialised rescue equipment isn't always cheap, and some employers might be tempted to settle for the bare minimum, thinking that an emergency rescue is unlikely to be required.
Even if you’re in an industry where emergencies are rare, they’re not impossible. No matter what kind of equipment you may need, the price is small compared to the potential casualties and loss of life that could come about from not being properly prepared.
Here at First Aid Distributions we provide an extensive range of rescue products and first aid items including extraction collars, head immobilisers, traction devices, first aid kits, oxygen carry bags, stretchers, slings, and more besides. If you need further information about any of the products or help in deciding what equipment you need, then our friendly knowledgeable staff will be happy to assist and answer your questions. Just give us a call on 03 5443 2239.