January 24, 2015

Automotive Engineering Expert Witness & NTSB Investigations

An automotive engineering expert witness testified this week in the federal lawsuit two Minnesota families brought against Toyota. While the Koua Fong Lee and the Trice-Adams families argue that a defect with Lee’s Camry caused a deadly crash in 2006, Toyota says the accelerator pedal shows it was pushed down during the crash and that Lee mistook the brake for the accelerator.

Older model Toyotas were not included in the carmaker’s massive recall after sudden acceleration problems. Toyota was fined $1.2 billion in 2014 by the Justice Department after prosecutors said Toyota’s tried to conceal the problem of sudden acceleration in its vehicles. The case will go to the jury next week.

The National Transportation Safety Board is offering a new course for Legal Professionals, NTSB Investigations: What Legal Professionals Need to Know, to be held March 5-6, 2015, at the NTSB's Training Center in Ashburn, Va.

This two-day course will provide participants with the foundational knowledge needed to advise clients about the statutory framework that defines NTSB investigations, and the regulations, rules and practices NTSB follows in conducting its investigations. Emphasis will be on understanding the legal reasoning through facilitated and interactive discussions of issues that commonly arise during the course of NTSB investigations. Participants will also learn practical techniques to use when engaging with NTSB investigators, as well as important information regarding assistance to victims’ families.

Acting NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart is scheduled as a keynote speaker and participants will also have an opportunity to hear from NTSB attorneys and investigators, as well as attorneys from prominent law firms and aircraft manufacturers.

Registration is now open for the course. Tuition rates increase after February 3, 2015. The registration link for the course is available on the course page:

The NTSB will provide the information required to obtain Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit from participating states.

Information about the NTSB Training Center, course registration information and a complete listing of all public courses offered is available at:
NTSB Training Center: 571-223-3900

Contact: NTSB Public Affairs
490 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20594
Keith Holloway
(202) 314-6100
keith.holloway@ntsb.gov

January 20, 2015

Child Abuse Expert Witness Testifies In Case Against Texas Teacher

Psychologist and child abuse expert witness Dr. William L Carter testified in the Waco, TX, case against Sergio Bezerra. The former Waco Baptist Academy teacher was convicted of abusing two students in 2008 and was sentenced to 80 years in prison. Four young women testified that Bezerra molested them. Dr. Carter did not evaluate the victims but described how the abuser brings victims into abuse, many times starting with favoritism.

Protocols involved in a Child Sexual Abuse Forensic Interview are discussed on the Forensic Pediatrics Experts - Child Abuse & Child Safety website:

General Protocols
Child Forensic Interview Expert Analysis Components
An objective assessment of a forensic interview involving a child who reports sexual abuse is a prudent component of quality improvement and assuring proper procedures were followed. A poor interview does not discount the possibility of sexual abuse. However, the format and process of the forensic interview have been developed to minimize leading questions and ensure as accurate a history as possible.

The interviewer of a child or adolescent presenting with concern for sexual abuse or sexual assault should remember the following principles:
audiotape or videotape the interview, if possible;
use a minimum number of interviews (perhaps two or three), as multiple interviews may encourage confabulation;
avoid repetitive questions, either/or questions, and multiple questions, and try to avoid leading and suggestive questions;
use restatement, that is, repeat the child’s account back to the child (which allows the interviewer to see if the child is consistent and ensures that the interviewer understands the child’s report)

Child Sexual Abuse Forensic Interview Process and Protocol
conduct the interview without the parent present (if the child is very young, consider having a family member enter the room and separate thereafter;
if a camera or microphone is present, inform the child that people responsible for making them safe may be watching, but that no family member is observing the interaction. Only investigative team members should be observing a forensic interview;
use an examination technique that is appropriate to the child’s age and developmental level, such as drawings and play re-enactment;
determine the child’s terms for body parts and sexual acts; do not educate or provide new terms

Content of a Child Sexual Abuse Forensic Interview
A forensic interview should not take the form of an interrogation. Note the child’s affect while discussing these topics and be tactful in helping the child manage anxiety. Young children may not be able to report all of the relevant information and disclosures commonly emerge over time. The examiner should explore the following:
whether the child was told to report or not report anything;
what relationship the child has to alleged perpetrator was;
what the alleged perpetrator did;
where it happened;
for multiple occurrences that are reported, when the abuse it started and when it ended;
number of times the abuse occurred;
if and how the child was initially engaged and how the abuse progressed over time;
if and how the alleged perpetrator induced the child to maintain secrecy;
whether the child is aware of specific injuries or physical symptoms associated with the abuse;
whether any photography or videotaping took place.


Read more: Forensic Pediatrics Experts - Child Abuse & Child Safety

January 17, 2015

Handwriting Expert Witness On Forensic Document Examination

In When is a Handwriting Expert Not a Handwriting Expert? handwriting expert witness Dennis Ryan of Applied Forensics, LLC, writes:

A handwriting expert is not a handwriting expert when they are called on to examine aspects of a document that do not require a handwriting examination. Most handwriting experts are actually Forensic Document Examiners (FDE’s). The expertise of a Forensic Document Examiner goes well beyond the examination and comparison of signatures, hand-printed or handwritten items. The Forensic Document Examiner (Handwriting Expert) can examine documents to determine if they are forged. For example, our FDEs have examined documents associated with a vintage automobile sale. The documents that were produced in the sale of the automobile were the window sticker, the bill of sale and other related documents. The price of the automobile was increased by a hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) when these documents were used in the sale of the automobile. Our examiners determined that the documents were fraudulent because they were produced using a color laser printer/copier. The documents appeared artificially aged.

The Forensic Document Examiner (handwriting expert) can also examine documents to determine the method of production of the document. Was the document produced by a typewriter, dot matrix, ink jet or laser printer? Does the document have a signature on it which appears original but is in fact a color laser copy of the signature and not the original inked signature? Does the ink jet printer have a defect that can identify the specific printer used to create the document?

A Forensic Document Examiner may also examine alterations, additions and deletions. Our office has examined documents ranging from medical treatment records to standardized school testing records for evidence of alterations, additions or deletions. The alterations are not always evident without a close examination using infrared imaging technology. Our examiners have examined hundreds of state standardized tests and have found, on occasion, the answers have been changed from an incorrect answer to a correct one.

The Forensic Document Examiner (handwriting expert) also does indentation analysis. An examiner could, for example, determine why handwritten initials from page one of a multi-page document do not appear on page two of the document, but the initials appear on the remaining pages of the multi page document. The answer could be that an alternative version of page two has been substituted. In another case, our office compared indentations from a 2008 document and those of a document dated 2014 which provided a clue in dating the document in question.

The Forensic Document Examiners (handwriting experts) in our offices have been asked to examine photocopied documents to determine if the copies are mechanical fabrications. Another term for a mechanical fabrication is a “cut and paste”. With the accessibility of desktop publishing so prevalent in today’s society, a “cut and paste” can be done with relative ease with only a computer and a scanner. A “cut and paste” can be very rudimentary or very sophisticated, it all depends on the time and effort one wants to put into creating the document.

As one can see the handwriting expert does not always fulfill the role of handwriting expert. The Forensic Document Examiner commonly referred to as a handwriting expert, conducts a myriad of examinations on documents called into question.



Applied Forensics
is a state of art laboratory of certified Forensic Document Examiners with offices in New York, Maryland, Boston, Connecticut, and North Carolina. Document examinations are provided in the following areas: handwriting, typewriter, photocopies, alterations, obliterations, erasures, and paper exams.

January 11, 2015

Food Safety Expert Witnesses & Bidart Bros Recall

Food safety expert witnesses may consult on food borne illnesses, food handling, restaurant industry standards, and food poisoning. This week Bidart Bros. expanded an apple recall to include all granny smith and galas shipped from its Shafter, Calif., facility after two strains of Listeria monocytogenes were confirmed in the apple processing plant. The bacteria are believed to be the same ones associated with the 2014 outbreak that killed seven people and sickened many more. The recall first targeted packaged caramel-coated apples but the recall has been broadened to all shipments of Bidart Bros. Granny Smith and Gala apples.

On 1/10/15 CDC.gov posted:

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in several states and with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis) linked to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples. Listeria can cause a serious, life-threatening illness.

People at higher risk for listeriosis include adults 65 years or older, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women.

On January 6, 2015, Bidart Bros. of Bakersfield, California voluntarily recalled Granny Smith and Gala apples because environmental testing revealed contamination with Listeria monocytogenes at the firm’s apple-packing facility.

On January 8, 2015, FDA laboratory analyses showed that these Listeria isolates were indistinguishable from outbreak strains by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).

Listeria isolates from whole apples produced by Bidart Bros., collected along the distribution chain, were also indistinguishable from outbreak strains by PFGE.

Consumers should not eat any recalled Granny Smith and Gala apples produced by Bidart Bros., and retailers should not sell or serve them.

Consumers who are buying or have recently bought Granny Smith or Gala apples can ask their retailers if the apples came from Bidart Bros.

Consumers should not eat commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples that were recalled or made with Bidart Bros. apples, and retailers should not sell or serve them.

Happy Apples, California Snack Foods, and Merb’s Candies each announced a voluntary recall of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples after hearing from Bidart Bros. that there may be a connection between Bidart Bros. apples and this listeriosis outbreak.

Consumers who are buying or have recently bought commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples can ask their retailers if the apples came from Bidart Bros.

Consumers who are unable to determine whether their commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples were made with Bidart Bros. apples should throw them away.

As of January 10, 2015, a total of 32 people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes had been reported from 11 states.

Thirty-one ill people have been hospitalized, and seven deaths have been reported. Listeriosis contributed to at least three of these deaths.

January 7, 2015

School Security Expert Witness On School Shootings Part 2

In Ten Lessons Learned From the Sandy Hook School Shootings, school security expert witness Ken Trump, MPA, President of National School Safety and Security Services writes:

Our team’s analysis of the Sandy Hook Final Report released by the Connecticut State’s Attorney continues with 10 key lessons learned for school security and emergency preparedness. While additional details may be revealed in forthcoming documents from the Connecticut State Police, 10 important lessons from Sandy Hook have emerged based upon the final report, information shared with us by individuals involved with the incident, and other published reports:

6. Assess physical security at each school due to unique designs and issues. The classrooms where children and staff died at Sandy Hook had connecting doors in the walls. Restrooms inside the classrooms helped as places for young children to lockdown. Each school district is unique and schools within each district are unique, requiring building-specific assessments and actions as appropriate to identify strengths and areas of concern.

7. Strengthen communications capabilities and create redundancy. The ability to activate the PA from multiple locations was helpful in alerting others of the shootings at Sandy Hook. As noted in Chuck Hibbert’s blog article this week, Connecticut State Police radios did not work inside the school. Have redundancy in communications in the event “Plan A” fails.

8. Recognize and address the elephants in the living room: Mental health, home dysfunction, weapons, violent videos, etc. These are largely home and community issues that must be recognized, acknowledged and addressed by parents and the community.

9. Think and act cognitively, not emotionally; and measured, not knee-jerk — and related to this lesson:

10. Stay focused on proven, tested and reliable best practices. Experienced school safety professionals, psychologists and many educators have expressed concerns since December of 2012 about far too many emotionally-driven ideas and actions based upon what people believed occurred at Sandy Hook. Bulletproof backpacks, bulletproof whiteboards, vendors and consultants pushing expensive classroom surveillance cameras activated by individual teacher panic alerts, software developers providing lockdown or shooter notification apps (that could result in not only first responders rushing to the school, but also undesired onlookers like the NY man who went to Sandy Hook to see what was going and got detained by police), and others have jumped into the fray with questionable proposals.

Many schools rushed to fortify their front entrance doors, failing to recognize that the Sandy Hook shooter shot out the glass next to the doorway, not in the actual doorway. Some mistakenly have downplayed and/or dismissed lockdowns as effective tools. Others have encouraged students and staff to evacuate and run anywhere and everywhere possible, which in the case of Sandy Hook appears to have adversely impacted police from getting inside the school once they arrived.

Teaching children and teachers to throw things at, and to attack, armed gunmen is another flawed theory put forth with greater emphasis after Sandy Hook. Yet the Sandy Hook principal and psychologist were instantly killed while moving toward the heavily armed gunman. The staff member who was near them and got shot went back into the conference room, locked down and lived. Students who locked down, even inside the inner classroom restrooms, survived. Classes on both sides where the shootings occurred quietly locked down and survived.

More lessons may follow, and some amendments to the above may be needed, with the release of additional documents. But for now, based upon what is known, the above lessons remind us to focus on proven, reliable best practices.


KENNETH S. TRUMP
, M.P.A., is President of National School Safety and Security Services, a Cleveland-based national consulting firm specializing in K-12 school security and emergency preparedness training, school security assessments, school emergency planning consultations, school security officers and school police issues, and related school safety, violence, crime and crisis consulting services.

January 2, 2015

Explosions Expert Witnesses

Explosions expert witnesses may consult regarding explosives, flammable materials, combustion, and related matters. In the news, fireworks manufacturer Entertainment Fireworks has been fined following a fatal explosion in June 2014. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries investigated the accident and concluded that safety violations and improper training contributed to the explosion which killed one worker and injured two more.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives website contains detailed safety precautions in the use and storage of explosives.

Explosives Safety and Security
Federal explosives law and regulations provide requirements and standards for the secure storage of explosives materials. To maximize the effects of regulatory compliance, the following voluntary suggestions, developed in partnership with the International Makers of Explosives (IME) and the International Society of Explosives Engineers, may serve as a helpful guide for securing explosive materials.

Storage Requirements
The Federal explosives regulations at 27 CFR, Part 555, Subpart K, outline the storage requirements for explosive materials. Section 555.205 specifies that licensees and permittees must keep all explosive materials in locked magazines meeting the standards in Subpart K unless they are:
In the process of manufacture;
Being physically handled in the operating process of a licensee or user;
Being used; or
Being transported to a place of storage or use by a licensee or permittee or by a person who has lawfully acquired explosive materials under Sec. 555.106.

When none of the above conditions apply, this section mandates that you keep explosive materials in magazines that meet the construction and table of distance requirements of Subpart K. Any divergence from these requirements requires prior approval by the Director, ATF, in accordance with the provisions of 27 CFR, Part 555.22. Persons with questions on this issue should contact the Explosives Industry Programs Branch in ATF Headquarters at 202-648-7120 or through e-mail (EIPB@atf.gov).

December 30, 2014

Emergency Preparedness Expert Witness On First Aid Teams Part 2

In First Aid Teams, emergency preparedness expert witness Michael J. Ryan, principal at First Aid Depot, asks the question, “Does your organization need a First Aid Team?”

Training is only part of the First Aid Team question. Now that your associates have received the training they need the right tools. The right tools include all the equipment discussed in the First Aid and CPR/AED programs. These could include face-masks with one-way valves to eliminate direct mouth-to-mouth contact, triangular bandages for bandaging and splinting, and portable first aid kit(s) to be carried to the emergency stocked with the unique supplies for your work place emergencies.

Once your First Aid Teams are trained, in place, and equipped with the proper tools, they need to be managed. This can be accomplished in several ways. A self governing Safety Committee can oversee the First Aid Teams activities as well as scheduling coverage, checking supplies, and future retraining needs. The human resources department may take an active role in the First Aid Team; after all, it involves the employers’ associates caring for other associates. Human resources may be better able to deal with wellness issues. Depending on the size of your facility, the facilities manager may be best suited to manage the First Aid Team(s).

First Aid Teams in general are a great way to boost moral and at the same time ensures that the organization is providing appropriate emergency first aid. Being prepared for work place emergencies helps keep the company OSHA compliant. The investment in training and tools is a fraction of the payoff if an emergency occurs. As an example, training 10 associates in First Aid with Adult CPR/AED and then outfitting each member with a pocket facemask and 1 first aid kit is less than $800.00 dollars. AED (Automated External Defibrillators) have also dropped in price, approximately $2,000.00 each.

First Aid Teams are an all around wise investment in your associates and a commitment to their wellness.

Mr. Ryan's areas of expertise include citizen responders who provide First Aid, CPR and Automated External Defribrillation (AED) treatment; employer responsibility in the work place as it relates to emergency care/preparedness and EMS issues with respect to pre-hospital emergency medicine.

December 27, 2014

Accident Investigation Expert Witness Testifies Re: Excessive Speed

Accident investigation expert witness Travis Webster testified in the case against 19 year old James Crosby in the death of Kathy Lattimore, 67, and Derek Nichols, 20. Crosby was found guilty of manslaughter in the December 31, 2013 Newfield, NY, crash. Webster, a New York state investigator, calculated that Crosby was driving over 84 mph when he hit the victims vehicle. Crosby was found guilty of manslaughter as well as second-degree assault, third-degree assault and reckless driving in the fatal crash.

The prosecution described Crosby’s driving as reckless while defense attorney Joseph Joch said freezing temperatures may have caused icy conditions when Crosby’s car crossed into the opposing lane. Eye witnesses testified that they saw Crosby passing other cars at high speeds on windy roads that night.

Accident investigation experts take into consideration collision analysis, collision speeds, skidmark analysis, and speed determinations, as well as related issues.

December 23, 2014

Child Abuse Expert Witness On The Role Of Whistleblowers

Child abuse expert witness Jill G. Jones-Soderman, Ph.D., MSHS, has been in the private practice of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis for over 35 years. Her work involves the study of the violation of civil rights and confidentiality in various provinces of the court system with particular emphasis on family courts throughout the country. On her website, she explains how whistleblowers serve a purpose in the judicial system.

For over a century, whistleblowing has been a vital element in the checks and balances of American political and economic life, exposing corruption and illegality in the system, too frequently overlooked or suppressed by official authorities. Idealistic insiders who come across evidence of foul practices in business, politics, the military, in non-profits and religious organizations, and in the judicial system must have platforms where they can air their grievances and expose corruption to the public. Whistleblowers are often shunned by their colleagues, are retaliated against by their institutions, and even have their lives threatened.

Famous American whistleblowers include Karen Silkwood, Jeff Wigand, Ida Tarbell, Frank Serpico and Daniel Ellsberg, who each made significant contributions to American society through their dramatic whistleblowing actions. Currently www.uswhistleblower.org has articles posted about malfeasance in various family courts and child protection agencies, articles about the NFL cover-up about head injuries to players, and even about animal rights issues.

The US Whistleblower website pledges to publish new information and to strictly maintain the privacy and anonymity of those whose information is published. The Foundation for the Child Victims of the Family Courts is a 501- C3 not-for-profit organization registered in New York. It is composed of an association of attorneys, clinical forensic legal advocates, family mediators, counselors, doctors and other professionals who are dedicated to directly assisting parties who have been harmed by the Family Court system, social service agencies and Child Protective Services across the country. The Foundation aggressively works with families, taking cases through the Family Court system, filing Civil and Federal Civil Rights cases, and fighting for justice and damages.


December 16, 2014

School Security Expert Witness On School Shootings Part 1

In Ten Lessons Learned From the Sandy Hook School Shootings, school security expert witness Ken Trump, MPA, President of National School Safety and Security Services writes:

Our team’s analysis of the Sandy Hook Final Report released by the Connecticut State’s Attorney continues with 10 key lessons learned for school security and emergency preparedness. While additional details may be revealed in forthcoming documents from the Connecticut State Police, 10 important lessons from Sandy Hook have emerged based upon the final report, information shared with us by individuals involved with the incident, and other published reports:

1. Invest in the people side of school safety. The principal and school psychologist lost their lives moving toward the shooter. Teachers and teacher aides in two classrooms died with their children. The office staff minimized their visibility and as shots were being fired in the hall still managed to call 911. The school custodian ran through the building alerting teachers to lock down as he helped lock classrooms. People are the first line of defense for student safety. We need to invest more in training and preparing our students and staff for safety, security and preparedness versus skewing our focus on security equipment.

2. Lockdowns work and are still one of the most effective tools available to get students and staff out of harms way. While 26 students and staff sadly lost their lives at Sandy Hook, many lives were saved due to students and staff locking down. The final report indicates that classrooms on both sides of the rooms where the killings occurred locked down and remained quiet with no one harmed. The shooter bypassed the first classroom that was locked down and had a piece of paper covering the window that remained from a lockdown drill the week prior to the shootings.

The principal told everyone to stay put, not to run or attack the gunmen, and one shot staff member made it back into the conference room, locked down, called 911, and activated the PA. Office staff and the school nurse locked down. We have been told that a secretary and nurse locked down so successfully that they went undetected during multiple police sweeps of the building and were detected only after police set up a command center in the office nearby where they were locked down.

The final report indicates the two rooms where the children and educators were killed had unlocked doors, showed no signs of forced entry, and keys were found on the floor nearby one killed teacher. This suggests not that these rooms were locked down and breached, but that they may not have had time to lockdown.

3. Diversify drills and make them reasonable but progressively challenging. Conduct lockdown drills between class changes, during lunch periods, upon student arrival, at dismissal, during staff-only in-service days. Remove the building’s leadership team and office staff to see how drills unfold without them, as was the case at Sandy Hook once the principal and psychologist were killed and the office staff’s ability to act was marginalized by an immediate threat.

4. Engage support staff. While schools are much better at doing so today, many still do not fully engage support staff such as food services, custodial and maintenance, office support staff, bus drivers, and others in training sessions, drills and crisis teams. At Sandy Hook, the custodian heroically ran through the building alerting staff and helping them by locking doors. The office staff members were the first to see the shooter.

5. Train and empower all staff. Prior lockdown drills were reportedly held at Sandy Hook which surely helped many staff quickly do so during the shooting. Evacuation planning, parent-student reunification and other best practices for training and planning are critical to school preparedness. Reasonable student training is also important.



KENNETH S. TRUMP
, M.P.A., is President of National School Safety and Security Services, a Cleveland-based national consulting firm specializing in K-12 school security and emergency preparedness training, school security assessments, school emergency planning consultations, school security officers and school police issues, and related school safety, violence, crime and crisis consulting services.

December 13, 2014

Police Procedures Expert Witness Testifies In Castle Doctrine Case

Police procedures expert witness Ron Martinelli, Ph.D., B.C.F.T., C.F.A., C.L.S., testified in the Missoula, MT, homicide case against Markus Kaarma. The defendant is accused of fatally shooting German foreign exchange student, Diren Dede. The 17 year old was in Kaarma's garage allegedly looking for alcohol when he was shot and killed.

Dr. Martinelli’s testimony described flaws in the investigation and said if he were investigating the case, “there was much more work that needed to be done before they made their decision" in charging Kaarma. He went on to say that officers charged Kaarma precipitously and then worked to “make the evidence fit the charge.”

Dede was not armed but Montana's stand-your-ground law makes it easier for defendants to avoid prosecution in a shooting if they felt an imminent danger at the time of the incident.

Wikipedia explains: In the United States, stand-your-ground law states that an individual has no duty to retreat from any place they have lawful right to be and may use any level of force, including lethal, if they reasonably believe they face an imminent and immediate threat of serious bodily harm or death. Forty-six U.S. states have adopted the castle doctrine, stating that a person has no duty to retreat when their home is attacked.

December 8, 2014

Emergency Preparedness Expert Witness On First Aid Teams Part 1

In First Aid Teams, emergency preparedness expert witness Michael J. Ryan, principal at First Aid Depot, asks the question, “Does your organization need a First Aid Team?”

When you look at the issue of a First Aid Team some thoughts come to mind. One thought is the first aid kit hanging on the wall somewhere, usually only opened for an occasional cold tablet, aspirin or band-aid or maybe you can recall a time when the local fire department or ambulance corps responded to your 911 call. Aren’t these things good enough for most work place emergencies?

Several issues should be considered when you establish a First Aid Team. Is the first aid kit properly stocked for your unique work place emergencies? What would happen if the responding 911 responders were delayed; is it appropriate to transport the patient by private vehicle, etc.? Even in ideal conditions the period of time in which you wait for police and/or an ambulance may be life threatening if the victim doesn’t receive oxygen or other life sustaining interventions such as CPR/AED. The issue of first aid training gained more exposure on December 6, 1991 when OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) mandated certain types of training to comply with Blood Bourne Pathogen issues in the work place. Additionally, OSHA requires that associates working in certain environments have the ability to be resuscitated in the event of life threatening work place emergencies.

To properly answer the question “does my organization need a first aid team” a review of your organization is necessary. First, assess the actual number of associates in the building and how many are on each shift. If your organization operates in multi-locations or multi-buildings that must also be considered; ideally, all facilities should be trained. Second, human resources should be consulted; they may be able to provide information on the potential sudden illnesses that may be encountered based either on past history or the associates’ medical history, assuming it was shared by the employee. Third, closely review the work place process. If your organization is a manufacturing facility, what types of injuries have occurred in the past and what may occur? Maybe your organization is a packager or distributor; are there dangerous moving equipment hazards? And lastly, most service industries are probably free of hazards, but not the potential for sudden illnesses.

If you determine that your organization can benefit by having several associates trained in emergency first aid procedures to provide prompt treatment the employer must decide what kind of training is necessary. You’ll want to ensure that there is at least one first aider to every 10 associates. This ratio allows for vacation schedules, sick time, etc. while still maintaining proper coverage. Usually, the first aid team is comprised of people interested in assisting in an emergency. These first aiders need to recognize that they will be expected to assist another associate in the event of a work place emergency and the consequences if they do not assist. Certain work place environments will dictate what type of training is necessary. For example, where there may be bleeding, fractures, or sudden illness a First Aid course is needed. If your environment includes the possibility for heart attacks, choking, or breathing problems a CPR/AED course is needed. Any full-service training agency should have a compliment of programs to fit most needs. Typically your organization will dictate the type of training required and the training agency will develop an appropriate training program to comply.

Mr. Ryan's areas of expertise include citizen responders who provide First Aid, CPR and Automated External Defribrillation (AED) treatment; employer responsibility in the work place as it relates to emergency care/preparedness and EMS issues with respect to pre-hospital emergency medicine.