Why Even the Best Staff Needs a Simple Emergency Action Plan

Our ability to retain information is limited. Can your staff memorize their Emergency Action Plan?


How will your staff react in an emergency?
How will your staff react in an emergency?

Think back to tenth grade and try to recite that scene from Macbeth. Our ability to retain information is limited.  Detailed memorization is unrealistic. Yet when it comes to writing an Emergency Action Plan (or EAP) for our staff, we tend to include every piece of information available and task our front-line associates with Shakespearean-style memorization.

There’s good reason to be thorough. We want to discuss all scenarios and document our in-depth training for litigious backing. But, when it comes to training, simplicity has tremendous value. If your Emergency Action Plan is thorough and detailed, that’s great. Don’t re-write it. Instead, add a simplistic addendum to train to.

Breaking it Down

Here’s an example:

In a Life-Threatening Emergency we would train our first responder to complete several actions that might include:

  • Activating the Emergency Action Plan with a long whistle blast
  • Notifying a fellow staff member of the emergency situation
  • Initiating the appropriate rescue
  • Notifying the head lifeguard on duty
  • Notifying a professional staff member
  • And so on…

We could simplify this into an easy to remember action plan: Recognize, React, Report


The same goes for our second responder. They may be tasked with the following:

  • Use the office phone to notify EMS
  • Notify front desk staff of a 911 call
  • Obtain necessary equipment (AED, First Aid Kit, and Backboard)
  • Meet emergency personnel
  • Facilitate crowd control
  • Complete reports
  • And so on…

Again, simplifying these actions in an easy to remember plan is easy: Call, Care, Control


Simplicity is Key

These are simple examples are based around lifeguards and aquatic personnel, but the same principles can be applied to facilities workers, maintenance and housekeeping associates. When writing your Emergency Action Plan, be through. Discuss all scenarios, train well and role play. But when it comes to memorizing your plan you may want to simplify and make it easy to memorize the key points. When confronted with your next emergency, your staff will react more appropriately without the information overload.


Take Action

Need help writing your Emergency Action Plan? Reach out to us here.