What is a Medical Emergency Response Trained Team?
A MERT TEAM® is the term we use for top-of-the-line emergency care for corporations, clubs, churches, hotels, motels and industry or any place where many people gather. The concept behind the MERT TEAM® is to form a dedicated group of individuals to respond to medical emergencies within a facility or company. MERT TEAM® members take a one-day (8 hour) (length of time in training may change based on the needs of your facility) program that teaches the most up-to-date first aid and resuscitation techniques and how to use the most high-tech emergency equipment. The challenge in medical emergencies is time. In many instances four to six minutes is a lifetime for the victim. Activating a MERT TEAM® is the best way to have all of the roles needed to be simultaneously filled in medical emergency response thus giving the victim the best possible chance of survival.
What are the prerequisites for MERT TEAM® membership?
The team member is preferably a volunteer and will have to have at least eight (8) hours of training in the identified courses. The total number hours will be determined after a facility’s needs assessment has been made and the minimum training for your facility determined. While training classes and skill needs will vary slightly from client to client, a few of the courses are standard. The following is a list and description of the core courses used for MERT TEAM® training:
Adult CPR Training: MERT TEAM® participant will learn adult CPR techniques. These are resuscitation procedures for individuals age 8 and over.
Basic First Aid Training: Of all the skills a MERT TEAM® member might need, Basic First Aid techniques are the most likely to be used. The course includes management of injuries such as bleeding control and fractures, medical emergencies such as diabetic problems and seizures, as well as environmental emergencies such as heat exhaustion and poisoning.
Oxygen Therapy: The prompt application of emergency oxygen can often significantly reduce the possibility of tissue and brain damage to the patient during serious injury or a medical emergency. The MERT TEAM® program teaches use of an emergency oxygen unit and the various components used to deliver the therapy. In addition mouth-to-mask resuscitation with supplemental oxygen for a BBP barrier device will be used in the training.
Bloodborne Pathogens: This short self-protection inservice covers the possibility of disease transmission during occupational emergencies. Relevant concerns, protective equipment, and regulations are discussed.
Pediatric CPR Training (optional): Extended MERT TEAM® training can include pediatric CPR techniques and procedures for children from birth to age eight. It is particularly popular when MERT TEAM® members will have to work with children. This module will extend class time an additional two hours.
Automated External Defibrillation Training (optional): Extended MERT TEAM® training can include the use of an automated external defibrillator. For victims of sudden cardiac arrest, unconscious adults with no breathing and no pulse, the introduction of electrical therapy (defibrillation) is the only intervention that is likely to work and only if used in the first few minutes of the emergency. MERT TEAM® members will learn how to apply and use an automated external defibrillator. This module will extend class time an additional two hours.
What are the relevant regulations addressed by the
MERT TEAM® program?
The combination of MERT TEAM® training covers some important regulatory requirements for certain industries. For example:
Adult CPR & Basic First Aid: Complies with CFR 1910.151 - the 'First Aid' standard.
This OSHA regulation requires that employers guarantee adequate access to emergency care for employees. It states that employers insure that employees receive treatment from a qualified facility, physician or emergency responder:
- Within 3-4 minutes if there is reasonable anticipation of severe injury (electrocution, suffocation, major burns) in the workplace
- Within 15 minutes in all other cases
If there is no facility or service capable of providing said emergency care within those time parameters, the standard requires employers to train and equip workers in CPR and First Aid.
Interpretation: Most employers in industries with exposure to electricity, chemicals, and dangerous gases will be required by OSHA to maintain trained first aid providers. Many employers in remote locations will also be required to maintain such teams because of the extended response time of the providers.
Oxygen Therapy -- Emergency oxygen use by non-clinicians requires training as per FDA Chapter 24 "Devices - Emergency Oxygen Therapy Regulations"
The Food & Drug Administration allows oxygen (typically a prescription drug) to be marketed and used as a non-prescription medication under certain criteria:
The oxygen unit must deliver a minimum of 6 liters per minute for at least 15 minutes.
The oxygen unit must be clearly labeled as emergency oxygen.
The providers should be trained in the safe use and storage of oxygen.
The oxygen unit should be packaged with an appropriate delivery device.
Interpretation: Most employers can and should build emergency oxygen into their safety programs.
Bloodborne Pathogens 29 CFR 1910.1020 - "The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard"
OSHA requires that employers whose employees have 'reasonably anticipated exposure to blood or potentially infectious materials' have:
- Annual training in disease avoidance and self-protection
- A written exposure control plan
- A plan-of-action in the event of an exposure
- A vaccination program for employees*
Interpretation: MERT TEAM® and other assigned incidental first aid providers must have the first three elements of Bloodborne Pathogens compliance in place. *Omitting the vaccinations in this kind of setting would be considered a DiMinimus violation as long as all other elements of the program are in place. Please contact us for details as this is somewhat site-specific.
Who would train and maintain a MERT TEAM®?
MERT TEAMs® can be used in almost any industrial and/or corporate setting. The project has several benefits, including:
- Regulatory Compliance for the above OSHA regulations
- Reducing the potential for liability during an on-site emergency
- Affirming the company's concern for the safety and health of employees
- Potential increases in morale and safety awareness
- The possibility of positively affecting the outcome of an employee who suddenly
becomes sick and/or injured
What is involved in setting up a MERT TEAM®?
A MERT TEAM® is very easy to set up! We offer complete turn-key operation for this project at SOS Technologies. The typical process includes:
- Planning - Deciding how your MERT TEAM® will be deployed during an emergency, how much training it will require, and what equipment it will have.
- Recruiting - Finding volunteers/responders in your staff who will become MERT TEAM® members
- Purchasing - Acquiring the proper supplies and equipment for your MERT TEAM®
- Training - Providing your team with the proper skills to provide life-saving care to coworkers
We can help you with every phase of developing a MERT TEAM®. In some industries, we've had MERT TEAM® programs off the ground in a couple of weeks. Contact us for details.
What does a MERT TEAM® team cost?
A typical MERT TEAM® project is relatively inexpensive to implement. The standard MERT TEAM® training is around $75.00 per participant. This includes the Adult CPR, Basic First Aid, Oxygen Therapy, and Bloodborne Pathogens.
Other costs may include additional modules for AED training and pediatric CPR. Cost for the program with additional modules might range around $125.00 per participant, depending on your area and exact training specifications.
Other expenses might include various first aid supplies, an emergency oxygen Unit, and an Automated External Defibrillator. You can obtain all of your MERT TEAM® supplies though SOS Technologies as one integrated package.
What retraining is required to maintain a MERT TEAM®?
The most basic retraining for a MERT TEAM® involves CPR/AED retraining after 2 years, a First Aid retraining after 3 years, and a Bloodborne Pathogens retraining yearly. We always stress however that MERT TEAM® skills are skills that require practice. The average occupational response team will not see enough emergencies (hopefully) to be fluent with their skills unless they are challenged periodically with drills, exercises, and lectures. Our most successful MERT TEAM® teams have a monthly meeting of about one hour where we run them through some scenarios and refresh critical skills. Cost for monthly retraining is $100.00 per one hour session. We highly recommend this format.
I'd like to discuss the possibility of starting a MERT TEAM®
team - who do I speak to?
Contact us in the
Atlanta free call area at (678) 423-7670 and outside of the Atlanta free call area at (800) 521-4836 and ask about the MERT TEAM® program. We would be happy to discuss the steps involved in beginning a MERT TEAM® project in your particular setting. You can also request a specific rate quote proposal after we have completed your minimum needs assessment.