by Julia Rutherford Silvers, CSEP | July 01, 2008

This checklist is part one of a two-part series on medical emergencies, adapted from Risk Management for Meetings and Events ( or by Julia Rutherford Silvers, CSEP. This month, we’ll look at the facility and pre-event preparations; in July, we’ll examine procedures to follow in an emergency.

Event Specifics

  • Create an event-specific risk assessment identifying hazards and possible emergency medical needs, evaluating areas such as attendee demographics, the event’s purpose, activities, site features, etc.
  • Events with fewer than 500 attendees and close to a medical facility typically require only staff member(s) trained in first aid.
  • Consider hiring an EMT for events of more than 500 people. For events in the thousands, use a ratio of one EMT for every 1,000 to 3,000 people.
  • For events with more than 10,000 attendees, subcontracting with a medical services organization to coordinate and oversee medical response plans is recommended.
  • Events in remote or underdeveloped sites should consider on-site ambulances, mobile medical facilities and, perhaps, aeromedical services.
  • Events involving strenuous or risky activities, at-risk attendees, special circumstances or individuals (e.g., VIPs or performers), or other risk factors should consider hiring on-site paramedics, registered nurses or physicians.
  • For large events or expansive event sites, set up numerous medical aid posts (e.g., first-aid stations, on-site ambulance, infirmary and/or mobile hospital).
  • Site-Inspection

  • Determine the facility’s response procedures and on-site medical capabilities, including equipment (such as the quantity and location of defibrillators) and first-aid rooms.
  • Have personnel been trained in first aid, CPR, the use of defibrillators and/or the Heimlich maneuver?
  • Determine the proximity and capabilities of nearby med-ical facilities and services, including response times, transport routes and contact information.
  • Specify the scope and level of the on-site medical service you require.
  • Determine the need for special equipment or vehicles for handling and transport.
  • Before the Event

  • Liaise with local authorities (public safety, health, ambulance service, etc.) to provide event details and to determine statutory/recommended levels of on-site medical services.
  • Make a medical-response plan that covers the full scope of the event, including attendee travel, off-premises events and the move-in through move-out dates for all workers.
  • Designate a first-aid area with a fully stocked supply kit.
  • Determine whether first-aid personnel will be stationary or roaming (based on crowd density or site complexity).
  • Clearly identify first-aid personnel with distinctive clothing, uniforms, badges or other insignia.
  • Identify access and egress routes for all medical service providers; determine if routes need to be dedicated exclusively to emergency vehicles.
  • Provide grid maps of the site plan, including surrounding roads and access routes, for medical response personnel.
  • Determine positioning of medical response services, typically on the perimeter with access to ambulance exit routes.
  • Designate one first-aid station as the main medical facility, typically the one nearest the entrance or the one with the best ambulance access.
  • Medical aid posts should be highly visible and rapidly accessible (within five minutes) from anywhere.
  • Post clear signage for first-aid stations.
  • Prepare for hazardous waste disposal (clinical waste and sharp objects) and give medical staff access to utilities, designated parking areas, restrooms and break areas.
  • Notes: