Preparedness Focus: First Aid

December’s preparedness focus is First Aid. As public gathering spaces many zoos and aquariums have supplies and trained staff available to administer first aid.  Your facility likely already has protocols in place for handling medical emergencies that may occur on grounds, but it is important to review these plans regularly to allow for any necessary revisions. Consider the following:

  • Do you have staff members trained in first aid?
    • Does trained staff include individuals from multiple departments?
    • Have any staff members taken Stop the Bleed training to learn how to help in a bleeding emergency?
    • If you store high potency narcotics on grounds, are staff members trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of an overdose and respond?
  • How will first responders know where to go once they arrive on grounds?
    • Is your local dispatch familiar with your facilities grounds and gates?
    • Do you have a plan in place for staff to meet and direct responders once they arrive on site?
    • Guests may call 911 before your staff even knows there is an issue. If this occurs, does your local dispatch have a way to notify someone at your facility who may be able to help direct responders?
  • Is there clear messaging in place to ensure guests can easily locate first aid services if needed?
    • Are first aid stations noted on the facility map?
    • Is there a number posted that guests can call for assistance if there is not a designated location or if they are not physically able to get to that location?
  • Do you keep additional first aid supplies to account for unique risks at your facility?
    • If you have venomous snakes do you keep antivenin on-site?
    • Do you have trauma kits available for use in the event of a major injury?
    • If you store high potency narcotics on site do you have medication to treat an accidental overdose?
  • What are your response protocols for animal medical emergencies?
    • Does your facility have full-time veterinary care?
    • If veterinary care staff is not on-site, are any other members of the animal care adequately trained to respond safely?

If you are just getting started with planning, consider looking to our Contingency Planning Modules for more industry specific information. Additional information on crisis communication plans for businesses is available on

Do 1 Thing, a non-profit organization that aims to build more disaster resilient communities, asks the community to do one “thing” to enhance preparedness each month.