Police, fire and emergency medical personnel are known as “first responders”, but in an emergency the first response often comes from friends, family, and co-workers on the scene. Train your staff in what to do while they wait for emergency personnel to arrive.

  • Make sure everyone knows where First Aid Kits, fire extinguishers and other emergency supplies are located.

  • Call the Red Cross to find out about community education; hold a CPR class, or encourage employees to take one.

  • If you have an AED, made sure everyone knows how to use it.

  • Support safety training that will be relevant to the job. FEMA offers free Independent Studies that can familiarize your staff in basic safety and incident command.

  • Make sure that personal protective equipment is available and that staff is familiar with its proper use.


If your building has more than one entrance, arrange a location to meet responders with the 911 dispatcher. Have someone guide responders to the site of the emergency.

Training should include what employees should do, but it should also include what employees shouldn’t do in an emergency. For example, fire extinguisher training should cover how to tell when a fire is too large to put out with an extinguisher. Medical training should include awareness of when it’s not safe to try to offer first aid (for instance, if you don’t know why someone has collapsed it could be because of chemical fumes or other dangers at their location). Trying to help without proper training and preparation can lead to rescuers becoming victims.