Planning for emergencies requires a good imagination. What can go wrong? What is the method of failure? What is the chain of events that could lead to this? Having a good understanding of the processes in the workplace is key to answering these questions, as is an understanding of your industry in general.
With an understanding of these issues, you are then ready to start imagining the best way of responding.
In some cases, a patient evacuation may require few formal rescue skills. In other situations, more advanced rigging and rope systems are required (such as those taught in our Confined Space Rescue Team Leader class). Surface mines and other high-hazard environments require rescuers who have the skills and knowledge taught in our Advanced Rescue classes.
The most important outcome of training is to create the knowledge base needed to help design (or imagine) an appropriate rescue pre-plan. When you are creating this plan, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
1) No pre-plan can be relied upon if it hasn't been tested. Imaginations are wonderful tools, but we need to watch out for the intersection of imagination with reality. Reality is very effective at poking holes in our well-laid plans, and on occasion a rescue drill will reveal serious flaws in our rigging or rescue procedures.
2) Pre-plans serve no purpose if they aren't accessible. Work operations that may require rescue are an everyday occurence. Rescues aren't. If the need to evacuate a patient to a place of safety ever arises, do you have systems in place to ensure actionable and accurate pre-plans are available when and where they might be needed?
3) Too much imagination can be as bad as too little. Pre-plans need to be fairly simple, meaning that they cannot take everything into account. They need to address the most-commonly encountered rescue possibilities while recognizing that the Team Leader will need to adapt the plan in real time to reflect actual emergency conditions. Having a pre-plan as a foundation helps the Team Leader make informed decisions should he or she ever have to.
4) The pre-plan is a working document. Every pre-plan should be tweaked after every rescue drill. Even if your drill was performed flawlessly, there should always be a way of making it slightly better.
Imaginations can be wonderful tools and allow us to break a possible chain of events that can lead to an accident. But keep your imagination focused on events that likely to occur and not every possible event that could occur.