Virtual Emergencies Procedure

Last Updated
May 31, 2022

1. Introduction

During the provision of virtual service delivery, emergencies may arise that require action to be taken swiftly by staff involved in the virtual service delivery to ensure the safety of participants, facilitators, and other staff at remote sites. These emergencies may include, but are not limited to:

  • a participant has fallen to the ground and has become unconscious;
  • a staff member at a remote site has gone into anaphylactic shock; or
  • a facilitator has fainted.

2. Pre-Emergency Procedure

Before virtual emergencies strike, it is best to be prepared. The below procedure is to be followed. In addition, emergency information will be gathered upon intake in all cases where a participant is receiving ongoing virtual service delivery, once at enrolment, every time there is a long-term change in remote site arrangements, and at least annually. Steps are:

  1. Find out if there is an emergency procedure or emergency contact number for the remote site.
  2. If there is, document it in the first aid instructions in the Participant Intake Form found in the participant’s Individual Service Plan.
  3. Ask the participant if there are any additional instructions they need added to the first aid section of their Participant Intake Form and, if there are, document them accordingly.

3. Emergency Procedure

In the case of an emergency, principles of first aid are adapted to the virtual service delivery setting. Follow the below steps:

  1. Identify if the person experiencing the emergency is conscious. Try to establish communication with them.
  2. If the person is conscious, ask them what they need and act accordingly.
  3. If necessary, such as if the person experiencing the emergency is unresponsive or alone and cannot move, determine if there is someone at the remote site you can call out to for immediate help. If there is, get them involved and direct them to begin first aid or get them to seek additional help as required.
  4. Review the first aid instructions in the Participant Intake Form to see if there are any instructions relevant to emergencies that occur during virtual service delivery and follow them accordingly.
  5. Keep an open line of communication with the remote site.
  6. Call 911 if appropriate and if the address of the remote site is known.
  7. Notify the emergency contacts of the person experiencing the emergency.
  8. Stay in the session until appropriate help arrives.

4. Review

This procedure will be reviewed at least annually and updated as needed.