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Emergency preparedness in the health and fitness facilities in Queensland
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Betul Sekendiz
Introduction: The Australian health/fitness industry is an important contributor to the national preventative public health strategy against obesity and associated health risk factors such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, various forms of cancer, osteoporosis and mental health problems (Commonwealth of Australia, 2010; Mathers et al., 2000). Although regular physical activity can significantly reduce obesity and associated health risk factors, epidemiological studies show that vigorous exercise can trigger cardiac events, especially in habitually sedentary people with known or unknown coronary artery disease (Corrado et al., 2006b). In this regard, the aim of this study was to investigate if the health and fitness facilities in Queensland comply with risk management practices related to emergency plans such as cardiovascular screening, emergency procedures and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) as described in published international standards. Methodology: The data was gathered from the managers of all health/fitness facilities in Queensland (n=262) using the self-developed Health and Fitness Industry Risk Management Questionnaire (HFRMQ) (α= .87). Overall, 52 health/fitness facility managers participated in the study yielding a return rate. Descriptive statistics and Spearman`s correlation were conducted for the data analysis using PASW Statistics 18. Results: The results of the study showed that the health and fitness facilities in Queensland show low compliance with emergency related risk management practices (mean=3.5±.616). Even though, the majority of the health/fitness facilities (78.8%) have a written emergency plan in place (mean=4.04±.989), neither these facilities revise their emergency plans (mean=2.54±.999), nor physically rehearse their emergency response systems at regular intervals (mean=2.63±1.205). Besides, only 19% of the health/fitness facilities have at least one AED installed (mean=2.35±1.282) while only 15.4% of their staff recruited to use the AED in case of emergency hold current AED training and certificate (mean=3.61± .916). Discussion and Conclusions: The results of this study highlight the need for proper adaptation and implementation of risk management practices related to emergency plans in the health and fitness facilities in Queensland. In this regard, a policy development and regulation of the health/fitness industry to implement proper risk management programs including but not limited to emergency procedures, processes and use of AEDs so as to promote physical activity in reasonably safe facilities is suggested.