Proactive Emergency Response

It is critical that your staff members know how to react properly, without hesitation, should an emergency occur.

Your fitness facility and spa must have well-thought-out, written and rehearsed emergency plans. This is more than just making sure your staff members are CPR-certified or know how to call 911. It is critical that your staff members know how to react properly, without hesitation, should an emergency occur.

Monthly staff meetings with written quizzes, minutes annotating the review of emergency procedures and discussion of response issues with your staff are important. Items such as current CPR certifications, location and use of fire extinguishers, location of and proper training on AEDs, and water safety issues, if your facility has a pool, are just some of the important items to have on your list to regularly review with your staff. Reviewing emergency procedures often gets overlooked or taken for granted until such issues are called into question; then, it is usually too late.

Monthly meetings

Your exposure to litigation that may result from an unfortunate accident at your facility is greatly increased when you do not take thorough measures to ensure that all of your employees are well-trained on how to react to emergency situations. Make sure that you have written documentation showing such training and rehearsals for all of your employees. Many times, weekend or part-time employees are left out of monthly staff meetings, and do not have a full grasp of emergency procedures. Personal trainers, group exercise instructors, spa personnel, and maintenance and housekeeping staff may also be left out from these monthly meetings, or even from being trained at all in safety procedures. Spa employees, such as massage practitioners, may only be "on-call," part-time or contracted employees. Include them in your regular training of emergency procedures, as well.

Facility maintenance

Your fitness and spa equipment need to be routinely checked and maintained to ensure that they are safe. Whirlpools, saunas and steam rooms need to be checked for proper operation, and to make sure that they are within safe limits of temperature or environment. Spa equipment needs to be placed on regular maintenance checklists, as well, particularly those items that involve electricity, such as skincare equipment or waxing units that could result in electrical shock.

Keep well-documented records on your efforts to ensure a safe facility, and make sure that your staff members are aware of what to be on the lookout for within your facility. Daily checklists and inspection sheets are very helpful, but make sure your employees are actually conducting daily checklists, and not just checking off the boxes.

Reliable records

Keeping proper maintenance records and documentation on all of your training efforts for emergency procedures is not only important from a liability standpoint, but it is first and foremost your responsibility to provide a safe facility for your members and guests. Ignoring them or thinking that, "I have been in the business for 10 years, and I have never encountered a life-threatening situation," is not only naive, it is negligent. By not providing sound emergency procedures and training on how to react to emergencies places your members, guests, employees, company and yourself at great risk.

Life-threatening situations involving members, guests or staff are rare; however, they do happen. If you have not prepared your facility and employees on how to respond, then you are placing everyone involved into a possibly tragic situation. Quick, rapid and proper response to an emergency is the key to increasing your odds that the outcome will be one that everyone will be thankful for. Review your plan and training procedures today to properly prepare your facility.

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