Response to Medical Emergencies



  • To provide direction to staff responding to medical emergencies


Applies to all staff, as applicable


  1. The Institutional Head will ensure that:
    1. all staff have ready access to necessary protective and first aid equipment in all work locations
    2. all Correctional Officers are issued, carry on their person and use approved protective equipment (e.g. protective masks, gloves) when administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or first aid
    3. there are quarterly on-site simulations of medical emergencies that allow staff to practice and remain current in their skills
    4. the scenarios used for the medical emergency exercises are as realistic as possible, by taking into account the availability of medical resources in the community and emphasizing the specific needs of the midnight shift, and
    5. debriefings occur immediately following a medical emergency (to inform CSC managers of the details related to the medical emergency) and critical incident stress management services are offered to all staff involved in the incident, as set out in GL 253-2 ’ Critical Incident Stress Management.

Staff Responsibilities

  1. All staff and contractors (including non-health) will respond to medical emergencies. The primary goal is the preservation of life while ensuring the requirements of CD 566-4 ’ Inmate Counts and Security Patrols pertaining to cell entry are met to ensure the personal safety of staff and other individuals.
  2. Non-health services staff arriving on the scene of a possible medical emergency must immediately call for assistance, secure the area, and initiate CPR/first aid, according to their certification, without delay. The primary goal is the preservation of life regardless of the possible existence of an advanced medical directive or DO NOT RESUSCITATE (DNR) order.
  3. Non-health services staff must initiate CPR/first aid where physically feasible, even in cases where signs of life are not apparent.
  4. Non-health services staff must continue to perform CPR/first aid until relieved by Health Services staff or the ambulance service.
  5. The decision to discontinue CPR/first aid can be made only by authorized Health Services staff or the ambulance service.
  6. Initiation of CPR by non-health services staff is not required in the following situations:
    1. decapitation (i.e. the complete severing of the head from the remainder of the body)
    2. decomposition (i.e. condition of decay, deterioration, disintegration of the body)
  7. The existence of a DNR order does not preclude the use of other forms of treatment or care (i.e. treatment for a non-life threatening injury).
  8. Non-health services staff must use approved protective equipment when administering CPR/first aid.
  9. As soon as a possible medical emergency is identified, the Correctional Manager or officer-in-charge must notify Health Services and the ambulance service in accordance with the Institutional Contingency Plan, Standing Orders or Post Orders.
  10. The Correctional Manager or officer-in-charge must immediately establish appropriate security for responding staff and the ambulance service.
  11. Once on the scene, Health Services or the ambulance service will determine the medical response to the situation.
  12. Correctional staff on the scene will continue to provide assistance as directed by Health Services or the ambulance service.
  13. Immediately following a medical emergency, the Correctional Manager must:
    1. complete the Response to Incidents Involving a Medical Emergency ’ Correctional Manager/Officer-In-Charge Checklist form (CSC/SCC 1323-01)
    2. ensure that only one Response to Incidents Involving a Medical Emergency ’ Staff Checklist form (CSC/SCC 1323-02) is completed collectively by the appropriate responding non-health services staff member(s).

Assistant Commissioner,
Health Services

Original Signed by:
Jennifer Wheatley




GL 253-2 - Critical Incident Stress Management
CD 800 - Health Services

Hospice Palliative Care Guidelines


Medical emergency: an injury or condition that poses an immediate threat to a person’s health or life which requires medical intervention.

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.