Accidents or medical emergencies during mission trips and ministry activities are not uncommon. Establishing guidelines for dealing with these incidents can help ensure quick, consistent aid for the injured and can reduce the risk of future legal problems for your church or ministry.
When establishing guidelines for your organization, consider these steps:
- Designate a contact person within your organization to handle all accident reports. The contact person should know exactly what information needs to be gathered and to what agency it should be reported.
- Take care of the injured. Apply basic first aid if necessary. If the accident is serious, call an ambulance; if the injured party is a minor, contact the parents right away. Also, notify the contact person as soon as possible, regardless of the extent of the injury.
- Gather information from the injured person, such as name, date of birth, and contact information. Record names and phone numbers of all witnesses and other incident details on a Notice of Injury form.
- Inspect the area where the accident took place. If the accident was caused by a defect, like a cracked floor or uneven sidewalk, rope off the area to avoid further accidents.
- Notify your Team Leader promptly. The contact person should relay all available information, including copies of any legal papers, demands, or notices you may receive regarding the incident. All injuries should be reported to your Leader within 24 hours, if possible.
- Do not accept liability or make a commitment to pay expenses. While it’s natural to express concern for the injured party, you should avoid making any comments regarding fault or negligence.