Wednesday, July 7, 2010

An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth A Loss of Income


I have always been a supporter of thorough preparation and planning, especially in regards to the safety of the public. Even in school, I didn’t mind the chaotic tornado drills whereby each of us was led into the hall and forced into the “face-in-your-own-crotch” safety position because I recognized the logic behind it. Training and drills now eliminate mistakes later, and in many cases saves lives.
With that being said, I believe that it is possible to take preparation too far and err on the side of authenticity. An example of this type of preparation was witnessed by patients at St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada late last week. The hospital, which one year earlier had been stormed by a gunman, decided that patient and staff safety was their number one concern. So they did what any self-respecting medical center would; they hired someone to storm the hospital with a real (albeit unloaded) pistol and take 8 employees hostage (including the ICU director.)
The three medical center employees who concocted the training exercise decided that it would be more realistic not to inform anyone at the hospital that a drill was taking place. While this insured sincere reactions from the involuntary participants, it also meant that the patients of the captured doctors and nurses were left unsupervised until the drill’s completion.  
It turns out that the gunman was an off-duty police officer and the hospital is now facing a fine from the Nevada Health Division because patients were left unsupervised. Teressa Conley, the chief operating officer, said the three employees who designed the drill had the "best intentions" but did not think things through. Mrs. Conley then executed a plan of her own and fired two members of the “safety brain-trust.”
Incidents like this remind me that even preparing for a disaster can be disastrous. For that reason I have created this easy to use chart so that organizations can avoid embarrassing over-preparation:


Appropriate
Inappropriate
Pulling fire alarm and practicing organized evacuations at regular intervals
Throwing a Molotov cocktail into a daycare to teach them about hate crimes
Flight attendant explains how to use your floatation device in the event of a water landing
Pilot downs two Percocet and intentionally ditches in the Atlantic to simulate a water landing
Bank gives a spring seminar and luncheon on how to handle an armed robbery
Bank hires two ex-cons to put a few rounds in the loan officer to “show her what it’s like”
Adolescent swimming lessons at the YMCA
Adolescent swimming lessons in the Hudson River
Practice CPR on a Red Cross certified test dummy
Assault a jogger with an aluminum bat until their heart stops to practice CPR
Have care brakes tested by an ASC certified auto-mechanic every 10,000 miles
Test brakes yourself by tailgating a gas truck on Interstate 65

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