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Orlando Utilities Commission's AED Best Practice

Orlando Utilities Commission's AED Best Practice

Leadership and Teamwork Key Aspects of Emergency Response Plan

by Monica Krizen

It’s 9:00 a.m.  on a Monday. In the middle of your weekly meeting, your co-worker says they   feel lightheaded and suddenly faints. They are unresponsive and losing color.   At 9:01 am the Emergency Response Team   (ERT) is alerted. What do you do?

Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) poses similar questions to their ERT   members, consisting of over 80 employees, as part of their semi-annual   emergency response training drills. Quick drills like these, which include   photographs of first aid kits and AEDs, allow employees to become more   familiar with equipment and procedures. Even with an emergency response plan   in place, OUC wanted to enhance their program.


  Bill Sturgeon addresses employees at May 2012 Lunch and Learn.    

Earlier this year, OUC’s Safety and Training department invited their   employees to a meeting where Senior Safety Coordinator, Bill Sturgeon, asked   the group, “What can we do to improve the team?” Safety and Training   management recognized the value of their employees’ ideas and experience;   they wanted to be involved, work together, and feel comfortable in their   knowledge. OUC found leadership and team building are imperative to ensuring   the success of procedures and protocols. Using this information, they began   implementing procedures suggested and designing new procedures based on ideas   and concerns from the meeting:

  • Emergency        Response Team members meet twice a year.
  • Quick reference guides have been created and included with the AEDs.
  • A new alert system, which uses the current phone system, alerts ERT members of an emergency wherever they are and can even contact them on        their cell phones. 
  • ERT members wear red badges making them easily recognizable.
  • The first person to the scene assumes the role of team leader and guides incoming team members and designates roles.


OUC Emergency Response Team     members participate in AED demonstrations. 



These changes provide ERT members with confidence in the use of the   equipment through scenarios and education. Since ERT members are more visible   and alerted when an emergency occurs, they are able to quickly arrive at the   scene. In an emergency situation, it is important to be able to designate and   distribute responsibility to other team members. Having these protocols in  place provide ERT members the emergency plan necessary to increase the chance   of survival for the victim.

In the event of sudden cardiac arrest, “Our goal is to get the AED to the   emergency within three minutes so that the shock can be delivered within the   critical drop to shock timeframe,” said Sturgeon. He encourages employees,   “If you see an AED, bring it with you.” When time is essential, even a   seemingly small change, like the badge color of ERT members, can make a   difference.

Medical   Emergency

  2. Notify Security
  3. Provide   Emergency Care
  4. Maintain airway
  5. Control   breathing
  6. CPR if   indicated
  7. Obtain AED   /First Aid Equipment
  8. Assign Elevator Control Program
  9. Notify Service ispatch


  1. Call 911
  2. Don Evacuation   Team Vest
  3. Determine need to   evacuate
  4. Smoke/Fire/other   emergency
  5. Alarm   Activation
  6. Ensure an   orderly evacuation is taking place
  8. Begin “Missing   Person” list
  9. Provide list to security

 Quick reference guide on back of ERT badges

It took several months for OUC to implement all of the new protocols. From  develop- ment to implementation, careful consideration of; time and distance   studies and risk analysis needed to be completed before creating or updating   a response plan. Potential procedural changes need to be practiced, tested   and revised. Putting together a successful program isn’t as simple as having   good ideas, they have to be tested. Once decided upon, employees must be trained.

OUC continues its commitment to support the health and safety of its   employees. OUC has experienced emergencies in both their power plant and   office buildings, including a life saved thanks to the quick thinking of   employees and AED availability. Mark Mitchell, Manager of Safety and Training   for OUC, explained, “The bottom line is that we feel we can save lives. With   the size of our company, one life easily justifies having an AED program."


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