How to Create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)?

Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is a strategically planned, written, and visual document meant to coordinate individuals during potential emergencies.

Many professionals understand the importance of EAP in the sports field, but may not know how exactly to create one.

Instructor

“Since we are a youth team in action, we don’t seem to be able to create an EAP because we don’t have a doctor, nurse, athletic trainer, or other professional staff.”

Teacher

“It would be easier to understand if the EAP had a map by area, but I’m not good at working with computers so I can’t make one.”

Above all, it is only recently that the creation of EAPs has been recommended at sports sites in Japan, having been greatly influenced by the recent major international events hosted in Japan, such as the Tokyo Olympics. Still, EAPs are not well recognised and widely used in Japan.

In the US, EAPs are mandatory and even if there are no specialised staff, instructors at high schools and other sites create them.

This shows how necessary having the knowledge of EAP creation is in order to maintain and normalise the usage of EAP at sports sites in Japan as well.

Therefore, we will explain how to create an EAP for any sports field in just 5 steps, so that leaders who are not professional staff, but are, however, coaching children, can easily acquire such knowledge.

When creating an EAP, it is important to envision the types of emergencies that may occur. EAP is a necessary preparation for fulfilling the responsibility to provide aid when an emergency occurs.

The first thing to anticipate in a sports setting is sudden cardiac death, head and neck injuries, and heat stroke, which are the most common causes of fatalities in sports, regardless of whether in Japan or elsewhere.

Sports Safety Japan calls these three major causes of fatal sports accidents “Triple H” – Heart, Head, Heat. Still, we must not forget about broken bones, dislocations, lightning accidents, and water accidents in swimming pools, etc.

Just as important, here are some key points when creating an EAP:

  • Be concise and easy to read
  • Created by facility/location
  • Create by event
  • Create by team
  • Simulation training for real-world quick response
  • Regularly verified and updated
  • Distribute or post notices to share with stakeholders
  • Request cooperation from fire departments, medical institutions, and other concerned parties
  • Creating a system to respond quickly to emergencies on the sports field and to transport people to medical facilities quickly is not something that can be accomplished by leaders alone.
  • Cooperation and collaboration between those on the sports field and the surrounding medical institutions and other related parties are necessary.

Now let’s explore the 5 steps of creating an EAP:

Step 1: Gather and fill in the information to be included in the EAP

Step 2: Map the facility (area)

Step 3: Fill out the facility (area) map

Step 4: Fill in role assignments

Step 5: Validate & Reflect on the EAP in a Simulation Exercise

The facility’s safety officer, facility administrator, and surrounding medical facilities will need to share the information once the EAP is completed. Sharing and collaborating on the information in the EAP is key.

Essential content that must be included in the EAP includes:

  • Facility/area-specific maps and respective routes
  • Location of first aid equipment
  • Basic information (convention name, facility name, address, etc.)
  • Emergency contact information (emergency response personnel and emergency contacts, including cabs, hospitals, etc.)
  • Role Assignment
  • The EAP must have all the necessary information together so that it can be seen and responded to quickly in an emergency.

The most common method is to screenshot a map of the area around the venue from Google Maps and insert it into the system.

In the case of stadiums and indoor sports, you can see the relationship with the surrounding area, but not the inside of the field or court.

Sports Safety Japan, in collaboration with Sunbears, have developed EAP Draw – a software that makes it easy to create EAPs free of charge to its members. With EAP Draw, fields and courts for each sport are already prepared, so you can select and create them by moving the cursor as if you were drawing a picture.

The required information includes:

  • Each route (ambulance and paramedic routes, lightning strike evacuation routes, etc.)
  • Waiting areas for emergency response personnel (offices, waiting rooms, medical/treatment rooms, etc.)
  • Equipment locations (wheelchair, first aid kit, ice machine, etc.)
  • Barriers to transport such as stairs, steps, gates, doors, etc.

Even if the necessary items are listed, if they are difficult to understand, it will not be possible to respond quickly. Depending on the sports site, emergency response may vary based on the first aid equipment and personnel available.

It is also necessary to have a clear plan for how to announce and lead spectators to a safe place.

There are four roles to be filled in the event of an emergency on the sports field.

  • Treatment (CPR, AED, first aid, etc.)
  • Communication (ambulance, rescue)
  • Procurement (AED, spine board, first aid kit, etc., to assist and record procedures)
  • Guidance (ambulances, spectators, players, etc.)

These four roles may vary depending on who is in the emergency situation.

If an athlete collapses during a game, the leader or a referee will be the main person to respond, but if a spectator collapses, the tournament management or facility administrator may take initiative.

It is also important to remember that you, as the leader, must be prepared for the possibility of falling yourself, and be considerate of the impact such situation may have on the children you are teaching, not treating it as only your problem.

Once the EAP has been completed, make sure to conduct a simulation drill under the assumption that an emergency situation has occurred to verify whether you can respond as planned.

Scouts (2022) Emergency 999 [online] available from https://www.scouts.org.uk/activities/emergency-999/

Shutterstock (2022) Emergency [online] available from https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/police-cars-night-car-chasing-fog-1191163906

Sports Safety Japan (2020) A summary of how to create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) in sports settings, in five easy steps [online] available from https://blog.sports-safety.com/five-steps-to-create-emergency-action-plan-in-athletics/

Sunbears (2019) Are You Prepared for an Emergency? – Annual Sports Safety Symposium 2019 – Tokyo, Japan [online] available from https://bit.ly/3KM3mkX

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

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Sunbears

Driven by our passion for sports, we have made it our goal to contribute to the development of the sports world. // 私たちはスポーツへの情熱を胸に、スポーツ界の発展に貢献することを目標としています。