Developing an Emergency Action Plan

Preparation is the key to responding to unexpected emergencies. While people talk about emergency action plans, it is imperative to get it in writing. You may think you've got everything covered in your head, but the best way to cover all the bases is to put it in print.

Every team should have an Emergency Action Plan. This is the only way to be ready for potential emergencies. Although emergencies can occur anywhere, certain types of emergencies, such as specific natural disasters, are more likely in some locations than others. Emergencies not only include injuries, but illnesses such as heart attack, seizure, or stroke.

An Emergency Action Plan should include all relevant categories and emergencies. This plan should outline the responsibility of everyone that may be involved, and should cover the following areas:

Layout of the facility

Plan where EMS personnel will enter and exit the field. Have a designated place for all keys that open gates or doors to the playing service so that emergency services can come in or students may be evacuated. Decide on the location of rescue and first aid equipment and always have a working phone nearby with emergency telephone numbers posted.


1st Aid Kits - Make sure that your first aid kits are fully stocked. Also, make sure to have physical forms and medical release forms for your athletes easily accessible.

Automated External Defibrillation (AED) An automated external defibrillator is used in cases of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias which lead to cardiac arrest. They are at many fields and schools. Take the time for note their locations.

Cell Phone to call (9-1-1)

Support Personnel (within the facility)

Evaluate which support personnel will be with you at the practice or game. This could include coaches, athletic trainers, athletic officials, facility administrators, management personnel, teachers, school nurse/physician, athletic director, clerical personnel and maintenance personnel.

External Support Personnel

Provide posted telephone numbers for EMS personnel, police, fire, hazardous materials (Hazmat) team, Poison Control Center, hospitals, power and gas companies and health department. Staff Responsibilities Assign each staff member a duty. There should be a person(s) to provide care, a person(s) to control bystanders and supervise other athletes, a person(s) to meet EMS personnel, and a person(s) to transport the injured athlete when appropriate.


Make sure it is clear how and when to call 911 or the local emergency number. Create a chain of command within your facility support personnel. Make sure there is a person to contact the injured student's family or guardian, and a person to deal with the media.


Decide who will be responsible for completing the appropriate documentation (accident and incident report, etc.) and refilling your first aid kits. Put together a team to evaluate the effectiveness of the Emergency Action Plan and conduct a staff debriefing.

It is vital to have strategies and procedures in place prior to a crisis. By developing an Emergency Action Plan, you will be prepared to handle emergency situations at your practices or games.