My dad always says (among other things), “Better to have and not need, than to need and not have”. Usually this pertained to a tool or some other material, but this should also stand for plans and preparations. There may come a time that a medical emergency takes place at your place of work, do you have what you need in order to get the best opportunity for a positive outcome?
The locations of things such as first aid kits, AEDs, etc. should be easily accessible. We often walk past these items every day and over time they may disappear into the periphery. Always take the time to check and make sure it is fully stocked, charged, or not expired. If emergency personnel were to be called, try to walk through their presumptive path and think about how to mitigate any obstacles you come across. Are there security gates that might block an ambulance? Are there items or materials in your hallways that can hinder the transport of an injured colleague?
Hopefully, your company provides first aid and CPR training and if they don’t, you should advocate for this training or at the very least, seek this training yourself. Usually, your company has some sort of medical emergency plan or protocol, and it was probably given to you during your promotion or onboarding process. Be sure to review it frequently, as processes may have changed, and it contains important information like the chain of command during the crisis or where to find employee emergency contacts. Are there peers that have more experience in medical emergencies? Co-workers who are former military or medical professionals can be great resources to use in these situations, so get to know your coworkers and ask them if they would be comfortable to be called upon during a crisis. I also recommend you run medical emergency drills with your team and peers, as physical practice is more valuable than conceptually running though an emergency in your head.
Always stay calm and take a few breaths to gather yourself when a medical emergency occurs. This seems counter-intuitive, but I believe movies and TV shows have conditioned most people to think that adrenaline fueled panicky actions are the normal way to respond, but in reality, first responders use measured and deliberate actions, and we should too. The bottom line is that preparation is key for a successful outcome and helps to instill confidence that we can handle the situation. Safety is a responsibility of everyone no matter their position or tenure. If you feel you and your company’s preparedness is lacking, do something about it, it could be you that has a medical emergency, and you wouldn’t want your peers to not have the necessary tools to help you.