According to the Heart Research Institute, a heart attack is a leading cause of death and hospitalisation in Australia. On average, it claims 21 lives daily, with as many as 57,000 Australians suffering a heart attack every year. Yet, business executives and high-net-worth individuals hire executive protection staff without excessively thinking about their first aid training. However, it is too important a topic to disregard.
Many people think of executive protection agents and close protection operatives as these bulky, black-dressed individuals with earpieces. Still, their physical posture does not necessarily reflect their skills level. Actually, some EPAs and CPOs maintain an exceptional understanding of first aid training and responding to medical emergencies.
The international journal Annals of Emergency Medicine defines a medical emergency as a sudden injury or grave illness that could cause severe harm or even death if not treated immediately. That is precisely where executive protection agents with a background in first aid training or additional more advanced medical training may prove invaluable.
As with many western countries, some chronic conditions plague Australia too. Thus, here are the most common chronic conditions where first aid could save lives:
- Diabetes mellitus,
- Heart, stroke, and vascular disease,
- Chronic obtrusive pulmonary disease,
- Kidney disease and others.
Regarding the risk factors that contribute to these conditions, medical experts usually blame poor diets, smoking, insufficient physical activity, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, and others.
Yet, this is only one side of the coin. The other is concerned with injuries that are an inseparable component of off-road racing and other activities in remote areas. In addition, hiking, fishing, and dining also comprise events that usually take place in inaccessible regions.
Having said that, many Australians ― HNW families and business executives included ― may fall casualty to these predicaments. Therefore, this article will explore the intersection between executive protection and first aid training.
Why Hire EP Teams with a Background in First Aid Training
Executive protection agents have numerous roles. To name a few, they are the protector, confidant, logistics planner ― and emergency medical responder.
Aside from their assistants, employees, and family, high-ranking individuals are frequently surrounded by their security staff. This fact makes the perfect case for hiring EP teams with a background in first aid training or higher clinical experience. Although the security staff may not always be within arm’s reach, they are the most responsive in emergencies.
Instead of rushing to the hospital and wasting valuable time, the relevant EP staff member can apply medical interventions and techniques on the spot or while underway. When employed immediately, lifesaving procedures can sustain life until the patient arrives at a medical facility. For instance, control of bleeding and cardiopulmonary resuscitation comprises the standard techniques.
In relation to the inevitability of accidents, security author Dale June writes that “Many things can befall a protectee (i.e. the person on the receiving end of protective services) that have nothing to do with the activities of terrorists, crazies, or anyone who would want to intentionally harm him. In spite of the very best preventive measures taken by a protection agent, accidents, injuries, and other life-threatening medical emergencies occur.”
Fortunately, EPAs and medics can apply various procedures depending on conditions, injuries, or other health issues. For instance, a person suffering from choking, another experiencing head trauma, and a third individual undergoing burns will have to be treated entirely differently. For this reason, the executive protection team must possess a resourceful first aid kit with all the relevant drugs and equipment, including advanced resuscitation devices.
Finally, an experienced medic or EP staff member with at least a minimal working knowledge of first aid can use their calm demeanour and experience to assure bystanders and the casualty or patient that everything will be alright shortly.
What to Do Before Help Arrives
Nevertheless, the question persists: How will the situation develop before an ambulance arrives or the security team transports the patient to the nearest hospital? How do these crucial minutes look like after sustaining a wound or suffering the consequences of a chronic condition?
As any member of security with a background in first aid training or a higher degree of clinical training knows, several things should ensue immediately at the scene:
- Call or have someone call 000 before beginning lifesaving procedures,
- Ensure that the patient is in a safe area to avoid further injuries,
- Speak softly and reassuringly to the patient, as they are experiencing thoughts of impending death, and their mental posture can actually deteriorate their overall condition,
- Convince the patient that the injury is treatable, as this could significantly increase their chances of survival and full recovery,
- Identify the patient’s health problems and recognise those requiring swift attention.
Medical experts and EPAs well versed in first aid provision refer to the last item as the primary survey or patient assessment. Therein, the relevant staff physically examines the patient. In fact, this tool is essential as it entails controlling and checking for immediate life-threatening issues, such as:
- Stoppage of blood circulation,
- Loss of blood,
- Absence of breathing, and
- Blocked airways.
By conducting a methodical and systematic patient assessment, the relevant staff can obtain valuable information that is beneficial in later treatment. For example, the onsite personnel could collect empirical data about the environment and the cause of the trauma or injury. Later on, treating physicians could use this information to prescribe the most suitable therapy.
Lastly, here are other data points that onsite staff could record:
- Time of the accident or the onset of illness,
- The treatment provided in the first minutes after the event,
- Pulse, respiration, temperature, and
- Appearance and condition of the patient.
Security staff has long been perceived as merely “standing there” or solely reacting when an attacker or intruder physically threaten the principal. In contrast, this article explored how executive protection agents who have attended first aid training can benefit their protectees immediately after a trauma or injury.
Apart from the agent’s day-to-day role, EP services have expanded to include responding to medical emergencies. Naturally, it may seem overwhelming for a person to simultaneously provide physical protection and medical emergency services. However, many proficient EPAs have gotten used to this workload and are constantly upgrading their skills.
Panoptic Solutions helps individuals and teams enjoy relaxation time and do their best work without worrying about far-off and unavailable medical support.