ISSA Chapter 19: Safety and Emergency Situations
ISSA Chapter 19: Safety and Emergency Situations 1

Chapter Goals:

  • Discuss the purpose of a CPR and AED certification for a fitness professional.
  • Find the recommended safety equipment that needs to be in a fitness facility.
  • Discuss the most common emergency situations trainers encounter.
  • Find the instances when emergency services need to be called.

Own the Fitness Floor

Fitness professionals work in many different environments and facilities. The area where people work out is known as the workout floor.

The workout floor is where trainers will spend most of their time in this area and conversing with clients.

Some of the responsibilities of the personal trainer and the workout floor are to keep the equipment clean, ensure equipment is in working order, and properly store equipment that is not in use.

Equipment cleanliness involves removing dirt and impurities from the surfaces or objects with a detergent and water, disinfecting the objects and surfaces with the appropriate chemicals, and sanitizing objects at the microbe level.

Having a checklist for the different areas to focus on can be a good idea.

CPR Certification

The CPR/AED certification is required for certified personal trainers.

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, which is an emergency procedure involving chest compressions and artificial ventilation to circulate blood and preserve brain function in individuals in cardiac arrest.

AED stands for an automated external defibrillator, and this is a portable electronic device that can help shock the heart back into proper beating patterns.

The Good Samaritan Law

These are legal protections offered for people who reasonably assist someone injured, ill, or incapacitated.

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These laws apply to most people in the US and some areas of Canada. In other countries, the same protections do not exist.

The basic parts of these laws are:

  1. Permission can be given by the injured or ill person if possible
  2. Assistance or care was provided in an appropriate way
  3. The person protected by the law was not the person who caused the accident
  4. Care was provided as it was not an emergency, and trained aid had not yet arrived.

These four things keep someone from being sued.

Injury Prevention

A part of ensuring clients a positive and safe experience is taking the right steps to prevent injury.

Acute injuries are injuries and illnesses with rapid onset and progression.

Chronic injury refers to injuries, illnesses, and diseases developing over a long time.

To prevent injuries, follow these basic steps:

  • always ensure a proper warm-up is completed
  • show the correct technique, alignment, and posture for each exercise.
  • show clients the proper use of equipment and machines
  • in more complex movement or exercise patterns, establish the right movement or pattern before increasing the speed
  • create exercise programming which will build in rest and recovery to avoid overtraining
  • offer modifications to accommodate different fitness levels
  • control the number of reps done in one given set
  • always ensure a proper cool-down and stretch

Emergency Equipment and Protocols

Fitness professionals may need to use emergency equipment at some time or another.

Outside of an AED, a first aid kit is commonly assessed for necessary items ranging from bandages to tweezers.

First Aid Kit

First aid is the first and immediate aid given to someone with a minor or serious injury, illness, or condition.

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A first aid kit is a compact box that is pre-stocked with supplies for triage and general medical interventions.

The typical items in a first-aid kit are adhesive bandages, butterfly closures, rolled gauze, nonstick sterile pads, first-aid tape, tweezers, thermometers, ice packs, and analgesics.

Emergency Exit Plan

This is a visual plan that shows how and where to exit an area in the event of an emergency.

These plans should include the following:

  • a drawn floorplan of the space
  • clear labels for all exit and entry doors, stairwells, and elevators
  • visual identifiers for the location of the viewer on the floorplan
  • clear showing of the exit routes from the current location
  • find where to go in the case of elevators not being operational
  • clear identifiers for a designated meeting place outside of or away from the facility or space

Safety Supplies

Some safety supplies are flashlights, a toolbox, wet floor signs, safety vests, a fire extinguisher, disposable gloves, bloodborne pathogen cleanup kits, a mop, a broom, cleaning towels, and solutions for sanitization.

Incident Reporting

The information to be gathered for each incident are the person’s name, contact info, injury or illness, how the injury happened, the site of the incident, and witnesses and their contact info.

Some of the common first aid incidents that personal trainers have to deal with are events like Blisters, Fainting, Hypoglycemia, Flu, Fever, Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke, Lacerations, Abrasions, Contusions, Shock, Fractures, Sprains, Strains, and Dislocations.

R.I.C.E.

R – REST, ensure that the individual is safe, and minimize movement.

I – ICE, apply ice or a cold pack to the injured area.

C – COMPRESSION, wrap the injured area with clothing or bandage with pressure applied.

E – ELEVATION, elevate the injured body part above heart level.

When to Call Emergency Services

You should call an emergency service as soon as possible in situations with chest pain, loss of consciousness, shortness of breath, head injuries, broken bones, heart conditions, abnormal vision, vomiting, deep cuts, and severe abdominal pain.

Diabetic emergencies are less thought about, and can see times of insulin shock or diabetic coma.

Insulin shock is a condition where there is too much insulin in the body and this has a sharp drop in blood glucose levels.

A diabetic coma is a comatose state which comes from high blood sugar levels.

A stroke is when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted long enough to cause damage to the brain.

A seizure is a burst of uncontrolled neural activity that causes temporary abnormalities in muscle movements, tone, behaviors, or sensations.

ISSA Chapter 19: Safety and Emergency Situations 2
ISSA Chapter 19: Safety and Emergency Situations 3

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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