Why Being Really Good at Emergency Response is a Bad Thing

February 15, 2012 by John Oliver

Who is better at their job -- a lifeguard that successfully rescues two swimmers every week, or a lifeguard that has never left their stand?

Or, to put it another way, who would you rather have watching your kids -- a childcare provider that saved four kids last year by successfully performing the Heimlich maneuver, or a childcare provider that didn't perform the Heimlich at all?

You'd obviously want the lifeguard or childcare provider with emergency response experience, right?

Wrong! After all, you wouldn't say that someone who has talked their way out of several speeding tickets is a good driver, would you?

Someone that is too good at saving lives probably isn't doing a very good job at preventing dangerous situations in the first place. An attentive lifeguard would know how to identify dangerous situations at the pool, and a good childcare provider would make sure a child isn't putting something too big into their mouth.

Before rushing to congratulate a lifesaver the next time you or your organization experiences a near miss - as opposed to an actual claim or or injury - you might want to consider asking, "How could we have prevented this in the first place?"

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