Emergency Preparedness at Fanshawe Pioneer Village December 2014

Jeff Willmore

It is a shoulder season right now for your maintenance department; we have the site fairly well packed up for the season and programming is not overly demanding. These are the times we can kick to the surface and catch a breath. This is when I spend some time ignoring the nuts and bolts issues and turn to the Health and Safety file for some updating and preparation.

As it turns out, just before I started this column we had an emergency preparedness drill. I set these things up, usually with a great talent for the most inconvenient timing, at regular intervals throughout the year. Like most things organized by your somewhat bumbling maintenance manager, our drills are a little ragged. However, through some miracle, they are effective and a very important part of the Health and Safety program in this workplace. Let me tell you how these things usually go.

We do at least four drills a year, concentrating on our busy summer months when we have the most staff and visitors, and a higher chance of incident. The winter drill performed at the time of this scratching, concentrates on responding when staffing is at low ebb and weather and communications can be a challenge. I would like to say, dear reader that these drills go like clockwork, but I am sure you know this organization too well to believe such fibs.

We chose a scenario, usually personal injury because it is applicable to the process and our most likely emergency; we then chose a location and get things rolling. Two staffers perform key rolls; one will be the person that finds the incident and the second uses our truck and serves as the emergency vehicle. No matter what shape things take during our drills the important thing is to strive for clear communications and to get the emergency vehicle to the site of the incident as soon as possible. Once the faux emergency has been placed, then the staffer on the scene makes the ‘911 call’, which is a call to the cell phone of the other staffer in the truck that is waiting just outside the park gates. Staff on site communicates clearly the nature of the incident and asks for appropriate response just as if they are talking to a 911 dispatcher. Our driver in the truck waits an appropriate response time and then drives to the Village.

Meanwhile back at the ranch: all staff co-ordinate the emergency response; any required first aid equipment is engaged, all gates are opened, roadways are made clear and a series of pointers scramble, and it often is a scramble, to spots along our roadways that point the emergency vehicle directly to the incident. Once our truck and driver arrive successfully at the incident site the drill is finished, staff is radioed to stand down and everyone is thanked for their participation. The drama is over and we all shuffle back to more mundane tasks.

This manager and the maintenance staff at Fanshawe Pioneer Village wish everyone a safe and happy Holiday season completely free of any emergency response vehicles.

Jeff Willmore
Manager of Buildings