May 15, 2009 | | Comments 1
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Symposium coverage: Using near misses to your advantage

Marge McFarlane, owner of Superior Performance Consulting in Eau Claire, WI, is discussing environment of care education with attendees at the 3rd Annual Hospital Safety Center Symposium in Las Vegas this morning.

A great opportunity for eduation is a near miss. McFarlane recalled a situation at a hospital in which an electrical fire occurred in a compressor in the kitchen, but there was a delay in notifying the fire department because staff members in the area didn’t remember where the pull station was.

So McFarlane developed a treasure hunt during which groups of staff members in various departments get 10 minutes to seek out the pull stations and portable fire extnguishers in their work areas. The group that completes the hunt in the shortest time receives a prize, such as free dessert in the cafeteria.

Such an idea is a hands-on way to educate employees that doesn’t take a lot of time, McFarlane said.

Entry Information

Filed Under: Environment of careLife Safety Code


Scott Wallask About the Author: Scott Wallask is senior managing editor for HCPro's Hospital Safety Center ( and the award-winning newsletters, Briefings on Hospital Safety and Healthcare Life Safety Compliance. He has written about healthcare for HCPro since 1998, with a focus on occupational and building safety, emergency management, fire protection, and infection control. Prior to joining HCPro, he worked as a reporter for several newspapers in eastern Massachusetts. He holds a BA in print journalism, magna cum laude, from Northeastern University in Boston. Contact Scott at

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  1. Great idea – thank you for that. We had an elevator fire recently – who would have thought! Actual “case studies” make excellent learning tools, but learning before-hand is lifesaving. -Ruth S.

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