What is a ‘man down’ drill?
The idea of a man down call was first practiced by the United States Army when a fellow soldier was wounded in battle. The soldiers were taught to yell “man down!” three times when they see something wrong or a soldier in danger. When other soldiers hear the repeated phrase, they also repeat it, and the echoing effect brings more attention to the situation and aids in getting the needed help.
3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Duncan discusses the importance of responders in an emergency. He states, “Our greatest resource is our people and we need everyone to be proactive in protecting each other from injury or harm”.
Today, we can apply that same truth inside the military or outside with our coworkers and neighbors. To repeat Sgt. Maj. words, “we need everyone to be proactive in protecting each other from injury or harm”. That is why we practice man-down drills because all of us need to be calm and prepared to respond in an emergency. Practicing ‘man down’ drills in your facility is a great way to prepare the staff for handling high-pressure emergencies because they require urgency in a life-like scenario which can be intimidating for some if not practiced.
My Personal Experience with the Man-Down Drill
While student teaching at an elementary school in Gwinnett County, I got to participate in one of these drills. This was an eye-opening experience because the adrenaline of the emergency got to a lot of us, and we forgot very important steps in the process. I learned that every minute counts when it comes to a life or death situation, and we wasted countless minutes when switching people in giving compressions. In our debrief with the school nurse, we determined we needed quicker transitions in switching out people giving CPR and breaths, we needed to refresh our CPR skills, and we needed to be reminded where the AED was stored and how to open it in a timely manner.
How to Conduct the Drill
In this section, we will walk through how your facility can conduct a man-down drill. Before we do, here are a few things to note. If your facility doesn’t have access to a CPR mannequin, you can still practice by calling man down and seeing how quickly your staff can get to the person who needs help, or you can use a baby doll and practice infant CPR.
- One person will be in charge of placing a mannequin in a practical location inside or around the facility. This same person will be the timekeeper when the drill begins.
- The drill begins when someone yells “Man down” or the man down drill is announced over the intercom if your facility has an intercom. Also, make sure to yell where the person is located, so the staff knows where to go. Start the clock right after man down is called.
- The staff will then run to the site of the injured person, assess the scene, and determine whether or not it’s safe for you to give first aid or CPR.
- Is the person lying in water without an electric current? Go ahead and take them out of the water and dry them off.
- Is the person bleeding excessively? Stop the bleed by applying pressure or using a tourniquet depending on the severity and location of the bleeding.
You must access the scene and stop the bleed before doing compressions!
- Once the person is in a safe location and the bleeding is stopped, Go ahead and start the early steps of CPR. Try to wake the person up. If the person doesn’t wake up, tell someone to call 911 and someone to get the AED. Then, take 5-10 seconds to check for breathing (put your ear to the person’s chest and try to feel if the person is breathing while watching for the rising of the chest).
- If the person is not breathing, begin compressions. Remember to push hard and fast (2-3inches) into the chest. Give 30 compressions and 2 breaths. For breaths, pinch the nose and tilt the head back at the bony part of the chin. Repeat this process until the AED arrives or someone takes over for you with compressions.
- Once the AED arrives, take it out and press the power button to turn it on. Follow all instructions and continue with CPR when instructed until the paramedics arrive.
If your facility doesn’t have access to a Trainer AED, you can still practice by calling ‘man down’ and seeing how quickly your staff can get to the person who needs help, and then talk through what you would do if you had an AED. If you have a real AED but not the trainer, still bring that to the scene and make sure you understand how you would use it if you needed to. Explain how to open it in a timely manner.
Document How You Did
Most importantly- document how you performed so you can improve next time! That is the reason for this practice, so take time to talk about how you can get better next time. If you need a refresher on how to do CPR and use the AED, watch the videos below or watch this playlist here. Is it time to get recertified? Request a group training here, or sign up for a class on our calendar.