by By Julia Rutherford Silvers, CSEP | August 01, 2008

The following checklist is part two of a two-part series on medical emergencies, adapted from Risk Management for Meetings and Events by Julia Rutherford Silvers, CSEP (; This month, we examine how to proceed when a medical emergency arises; last month’s column addressed site-inspecting the facility.

Incident procedures

  • Ensure all event personnel know where each on-site medical service is located within the facility and how they are to access or contact the medical team.
  • Define the time limits and site boundaries of on-site care (e.g., services will be available during show hours, within venue and its parking lot).
  • Define procedures for incidents that might occur outside these confines.
  • Specify that anyone who responds to an incident should immediately notify medical or other designated personnel. All on-site personnel should provide only such aid for which they have been trained.
  • An illness or injury report form should be completed for any medical incident or contact with medical personnel, including the affected person’s contact information, the nature of the illness or how the injury occurred, his/her disposition (particularly if care or treatment was refused), and any action taken.
  • Determine if specific records or forms must be collected to satisfy insurance providers or public health requirements (e.g., numerous cases of gastrointestinal illness could suggest contaminated food).
  • Ensure that the creation and filing of all incident reports, treatment logs and other documentation complies with medical-legal requirements and best-practice confidentiality procedures.
  • Establish post-incident procedures for assisting attendees who require extended medical care or have died, including contacting family members, arranging housing or transportation, and other services.


  • Include a review of medical-emergency response plans, procedures and the communications structure in the agenda for all pre-con meetings.
  • Specify roles, responsibilities, lines of authority and unambiguous delegation of duties for all event personnel, venue personnel and medical service providers who are in the response plan.
  • Establish and implement notification procedures for internal and external responders, including specification of primary contact numbers and protocols, as well as how responders will be notified of or summoned to individuals needing medical assistance.
  • Specify communications equipment and protocols (e.g., two-way radios, channel designations, calls signs, etc.).
  • Define any special protocols necessary for using cell phones to call enhanced 911 systems (e.g., providing specific locations or notifying the venue of the call and the imminent arrival of emergency vehicles).
  • Provide attendees with pertinent medical information in distinctive formats -- such as topic-specific printed materials or e-mails, on-site signage, public-address announcements, etc. -- regarding the location of on-site medical services, the nearest hospital, and what they should do if they become ill or are injured.
  • Prepare basic public relations and other crisis communication background materials that can be used in the event of a mass casualty or severe medical incident, including designation of an official spokesperson for your organization.
  • Establish procedures to ensure that patient privacy is protected within any communication mode (e.g., written, verbal, etc.).