Medical Emergencies Series: Place of Worship
Prepare Your Place of Worship for Medical Emergencies
Churches are made up of a variety of people with different backgrounds and have a wide range of age groups, from newborns to mature adults. With this stark difference in ages and general medical concerns for any person, it is important to be aware of medical emergencies that could happen in your place of worship. For instance, a child could have an allergic reaction, or an elderly person might experience a heart attack. Be prepared for medical emergencies in your place of worship by following these best practices.
Many children have food sensitivities and allergies to common items in our world which presents serious medical concerns for those caring for them. Before parents drop off new children, ensure you have important medical information by having parents fill out medical cards which includes allergies, asthma triggers and intolerances. Snack time is often part of a children’s church time, as is outside play, having this medical information can help reduce the risk of having a medical emergency with children in your place of worship’s care.
Approximately 29% of Christian churches are made up of individuals age 50-64 and 21% of congregations are 65+ years old.* It is no secret that medical emergencies such as stroke or cardiac arrest are more common in older individuals, so be prepared by training safety team members on life-saving procedures such as CPR and First Aid. It is reported that if CPR is started within 0-4 minutes of a person presenting symptoms, there is likely to be no brain damage.** Having individuals certified in CPR and First Aid greatly increases the chances of a person surviving with no brain injuries. Having multiple safety team members trained, ensures that if anyone is absent, there is still someone with the proper knowledge and education on life-saving procedures.
Aside from saving a life, there are other jobs that must be done when a medical emergency presents itself in your place of worship. Someone will need to call 9-1-1 and first responders will need to be shown where the victim is. Assign a member of your safety team to fill this role and make sure there is a backup person designated. When a medical emergency happens, this person is solely responsible for calling for help and escorting first responders to the victim as quickly as possible.
There are over 350,000 EMS assessed cardiac arrests outside of a hospital every year, and every minute without CPR and defibrillation decreases a person’s chance of surviving by 7-10%.*** AEDs and defibrillator’s are more cost effective than ever these days, but not only that, they save lives. Consider purchasing an AED or defibrillator for your place of worship in case of serious medical emergencies. You can raise funds to purchase one, or connect with your local first responders who typically have information on grants to cover the cost.
Although there is a good chance of an allergy, or a heart attack causing a medical emergency in your place of worship, it is likely that you will use a first aid kit more often. Children fall and skin their knees, and teenagers might get a nose bleed while playing basketball, these are all instances that would use first aid procedures. Kits should be well stocked at all times and should be centrally located. Make sure that volunteers and employees know where your first aid is located so that it can be found quickly in the event of an emergency.
Unfortunately, medical emergencies are likely to happen in your place of worship. By being prepared and focusing your efforts on training and education, the outcome can be a positive one in most instances. Consider purchasing an AED, but at the very least have a well-stocked and centrally located first aid kit that can be utilized. Know the medical concerns that face those who come into your church and have procedures in place that will save lives.