This is the second guest post from Sarah Rawley, who produces national mountain bike events, races pro in the enduro circuit, and writes about the latest trends and events in the industry.
There is no cookie-cutter solution to providing medical services at your event. While some solutions provide more reassurance than others, it is always smart to consider all of your options before determining the most effective and financially feasible method for ensuring your event is prepared for medical emergencies. Here are five easy solutions to consider when planning medical services for your event:
1. Call 911
For smaller events, choosing to “Call 911” is a very reasonable choice. If you are planning a large event (more than 100 people) and/or one that travels to locations far removed from the nearest ambulance, this option should include pre-planning for proper communication with 911 dispatchers and verifying your participants know key course locations to relay locations of ill or injured parties.
Be prepared to provide 911 dispatchers with accurate locations of patients, any and all physical barriers that could impede ambulance access, known or suspected hazards, the location of the incident, and details of the patient’s injuries or current condition.
2. Recruit, coordinate and supply volunteers
A popular and common alternative is to contact a friend who is an off-duty doctor, EMT or other medical professional to volunteer at your event. They enjoy helping as much as they love the sport itself, a free lunch and a t-shirt. This is popular because the costs are minimal, provided you have the time or someone you can trust to coordinate these volunteers for you.
3. Donate to Local Search and Rescue
Some events will seek out local volunteer Search and Rescue (SAR) groups to stage resources and staff at their event. While some SAR units may offer this service at no charge, many will ask for the event to donate a “reasonable” amount to their unit. Finding groups like this is useful for events taking place in rural or difficult to access areas. Arranging for them to be on-site is not as time consuming as finding volunteers, but there can be costs associated.
4. Hire a Local Ambulance
Hiring a dedicated ambulance to standby at your finish line is an effective option that saves time and reduces some of the concerns regarding volunteers. With one phone call to the ambulance operator with the date(s) and time(s) you want them there, they can meet your needs. In rural communities some local ambulance operators may even offer to have an on-duty ambulance at the finish line at no cost, provided there is not another public call for service.
5. Hire a Specialized Company
Throughout the nation, a growing number of events are choosing specialized event medical companies that act as your medical foreman or consultants. These companies bring time savings that come from making one phone call, the reduced workload of pre-planning for an emergency, and staff your event with a balanced blend of healthcare providers that meet your budget and safety needs.
A quick search online can find several companies around the country that can provide these services. My company, Event Medical Solutions Unlimited, LLC, is one that specializes in giving you the ease of full-service and turnkey medical support at a cost that can be tailored to your event. We provide pre-event planning and consulting, on-site staffing, transport coordination, and even post event clean-up and debriefs that collectively combine the advantages of the other options described earlier. “When it comes to on-course and finish line safety measures, EMS Unlimited has every base covered, which makes the job of a race director much easier and less stressful,” said the event organizer for the Steamboat Stinger, a complex event that combines multiple days of trail running races with mountain bike races.
Now that you know there are several options, we will take it a step further in Part 3: Pitfalls of Common Medical Solutions at Your Event where we will analyze the potential factors that accompany your approach to an event medical plan.
This blog is not intended to be 100% conclusive, but rather a quick guide to different options that are available and factors to consider when strategizing your next event medical plan. For a more in-depth analysis of your event, contact Event Medical Solutions Unlimited, LLC at 970-658-0637.
See also: Top 5 Reasons Why You Need to Hire Emergency Management For Your Next Event by Sarah Rawley
About Sarah Rawley:
Raised in the Northwest, Sarah’s instinct moved her to Colorado to pursue skiing in the Rocky Mountains and a B.A. in Technical Journalism from Colorado State University along the way. It didn’t take long for the Colorado mountains to spark a passion for mountain bike racing and since then, she has been on the forefront of producing national mountain bike events and enjoys the creative side of writing about the latest trends and events in the industry. Always a racer at heart, Sarah races pro in the enduro circuit, and is the co-founder of Colorado’s first women’s only mountain bike race.