How to Create an Emergency Action Plan for your Sports Club

We often have Physios attending our 2 day pitchside sports first aid course who have gone to work as a Physio at their local rugby club only to find that they are also magically expected to know how to deal with first aid incidents and how to put together an Emergency Action Plan for the club.  

React First are experienced with working with clubs to ensure that a comprehensive, workable and future-proof plan is created and implemented. 

All sporting clubs have a responsibility and duty of care to ensure a safe environment is available to those in their care, spectators as well as athletes. This includes having a clearly documented plan that outlines the actions and processes that need to be fulfilled in an emergency situation for home and away tournaments and on club nights. 

Suitable first aid provision and emergency action plans are a routine part of ensuring child welfare at the club.

Having simple, safe and systematic approach to an incident could make a tremendous difference to the outcome of an emergency at a home or away event.

Once an EAP has been created it must be communicated to coaches, physiotherapists and any other volunteers taking on the responsibility of first aid and incident management.

Nine Steps to creating and implementing an Emergency Action Plan:

  1. Decide who is to take responsibility for the action plan; its creation, implementation and periodic review?
  2. Make sure you know your governing organisations current requirements and recommendations for first aid training and emergency action plans.
  3. Decide who will be part of the emergency team and be given responsibilities as part of the action plan.
  4. Ensure a system is in place for ensuring First Aid training and refresher training is up to date and maintain a record of qualifications and expiry date to ensure timely revalidation. 
  5. Familiarize yourself with the clubs risk assessment.   Working with this document is perhaps the most important consideration when preparing your EAP.  (What is the nature of your sport and inherent factors of sports activity ie full contact semi touch – the hazards not worried unnecessarily by trivia)
  6. Create a set of handouts to be given to visiting teams and stored in first aid kits with appropriate emergency information on them. Key personal and acting first aiders on match days and club nights must have all of this information available to them.

Handout 1

Prepare a handout for visiting teams on club nights containing the following information:

  • Club / Team Name
  • Name of Duty First Aider
  • Phone Number of Duty First Aider to contact in event of an incident
  • The responsibilities of the Duty First Aider

Handout 2

Prepare a handout containing local hospital details and maps.  A copy of this should be kept in all first aid kits and copies may also be distributed to all teams participating in a tournament. In the event of an incident where someone is taken to hospital it can be given to relatives following in their own car.

  • Team name
  • Titles and names of officials
  • Venue telephone number and full postal address and location details for emergency services
  • Location of first aid facilities
  • Address of nearest A&E department
  • Address and phone number of nearest minor injuries unit
  • Possibly - NHS Direct number
  • Possibly - Emergency dentist details
  • Possibly - Eye hospital

7.  First Aiders must know their responsibilities within the club and that they have the clubs full support for the decisions that they make within that role.

First Aider and Emergency Action Team Responsibilities checklist:

  • Creating and maintaining the necessary emergency communication documents
  • making sure all first aiders understand their responsibilities and are aware of how you wish them to behave on match days and club nights.
  • Maintain the accident book and look after completed accident reports
  • distributing the Emergency Communication document to visiting teams
  • requesting the same information from visiting teams before playing away matches allocating a room for first aid treatment on match days
  • undertake periodic checks of first aid kits to ensure they are fully stocked
  • ensuring sufficient numbers of qualified first aiders on training days, home matches and away matches
  • have a timetable making sure that the first aider role is always allocated
  • define the roles and responsibilities of the first aider and make sure that they have the full support of the club for decisions that they choose to make.  All first aiders:
    • have attended a sport specific first aid training course
    • are familiar with the contents of the first aid kits
    • have their first aid kit with them at all times that they are acting as a first aider and have checked that it is fully stocked
    • understand what actions need to be completed after an incident has taken place
    • can administer appropriate treatments to ill or injured casualties both on-pitch and off-pitch
    • understand that they have the authority to stop play if they deem it necessary
    • wear a tabard to clearly identify themselves as the first aider
    • introduce themselves to visiting teams as the duty first aider and make sure that their contact number is entered into the necessary persons phone
    • will provide details of local hospitals and directions if necessary
    • will provide names and contact details of key club officials if necessary

8.  For first aiders on match nights it would be reasonable to:

  • Introduce yourself to venue officials, referee, opposing first aider, coaches and players and make them aware of where you will be.
  • Have immediate access to a telephone in case of emergency 999 or 112 request.
  • If using a mobile phone check that it has reception
  • Have details address and location directions of venue for emergency services
  • Have list of other essential phone numbers e.g. parents of under 18’s, local health centre, NHS Direct, venue caretaker.
  • Have appropriate first aid kit and access to first aid room during an event

9. Accident Report Forms:

  • At least 5 copies of the accident report forms should be kept in each first aid kit
  • An accident report form must be completed at the time that an incident takes place
  • All completed accident report forms must be held in a secure place