The Australian Red Cross Blood Service recently went out to tender for a service provider to deliver an innovative yet simple solution to their emergency management planning. Whilst the Australian Red Cross Blood Service has always had fully compliant emergency management planning programs, the Blood Service was seeking a more innovative way to manage their plans, have full visibility over emergency management training throughout its donor centres across Australia and most importantly, build engagement amongst its Emergency Planning Committee and Emergency Control Organisation.
The tender was granted to the FirstAction team who were extremely excited about the prospect of working so closely with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. For many years, several members of the team had been donating blood and plasma, so the opportunity for them to work with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service and provide emergency response programs to the organisation is a project that lies close to their heart. The team were tasked with reviewing the existing emergency response plans, marking up 90 evacuation diagrams for all donor centres and managing the full evacuation/lockdown drills and exercises.
Managing the training aspect of the project was always going to be challenging. The Australian Red Cross Blood Service collects, processes and distributes over 1 million blood donations each year. Along with blood supply, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service also provides clinical and research expertise and support in the areas of blood and transplantation. One can imagine how busy the centres are everyday! The mere thought of disrupting the workforce and enrolling them into emergency management training, drills and exercises would deter most managers, but for compliance and safety purposes, this had to be done. The FirstAction team worked closely with centre managers and developed tailored training programs, delivered in clusters at various locations. This process made it extremely cost effective for the Australian Red Cross Blood Service and ensured minimal disruption to donor centres.
The training programs that have been delivered so far have been well received. This is evident in the feedback forms which show a high level of participant engagement. Some comments were:
“Very interesting and informative’
“Everything I feel was covered…”
“Very relevant and tailored to Blood Service. I liked the hands-on training”
“I liked practicing the evacuation and the general discussion was easy to understand”
“…the consolidation of previous learning. Facilitator had good knowledge of fire training”
The training sessions are documented in Activate – the emergency management online portal developed by FirstAction. The Activate portal also houses the emergency response plans, evacuation diagrams and all training essentials. Activate also provides the Australian Red Cross Blood Service with a holistic view of the compliance status across all sites via the portal dashboard – reducing the amount of time required to oversee individual sites. The ease of use with Activate also allows the Australian Red Cross Blood Service to edit their Emergency Response Plans themselves – saving them time and money. These edits are reviewed by the FirstAction team to ensure compliance.
To date, the Emergency Planning Committee at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service have been fantastic to work with, providing a smooth pathway for the FirstAction team to build and deliver a tailored and effective emergency management program.