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Stan first responders may make more of a difference than our company EROs

19 January 2017

For a long time, Jan Stronkhorst was looking for ways to increase (fire) safety in Het Baken health centre and continually improve it. Both safety (including in-house emergency response) and technology are part of Jan’s portfolio as unit manager of facilities for Het Baken. “In this role of supervising technology and emergency response, I had gone to a symposium about a new view on emergency response. This also made clear that we can make much more use of the participation of volunteers and people in the area.

It is important to look at people’s capabilities, and especially those who are not self-sufficient. In case of large emergencies, you need those extra sets of hands, especially in healthcare facilities where a large part of your clients is not self-sufficient and the nights are a challenge. Of course it’s important to look at those around you, visitors and people in the neighbourhood, and see who you can involve”, Jan tells us.

Organising civilian participation

“I hear from colleagues in other healthcare organisations that they are organising civilian participation in case of emergency. But it takes a lot of time to systematically set that up and keep it up-to-date. And a practical point: when we want to alert the neighbourhood, I want to have a system that can alert quickly and reliably. Technology becomes a must to get this right. I feel we have come a long way in this, but we want to take it even further. Besides, the night-time always increases worry over possible emergencies, because staffing – including EROs – is much lower”, Stronkhorst continues.

“I knew about HartveiligWonen (Heart-Safe Living), and put out feelers to see if it could not be used when we’re short on people and need some extra hands. Then it became clear HartveiligWonen was working on expanding to Stan, and we were approached by Anthon Wolf and joined a pilot programme.”

Guaranteeing safety

“Changes in healthcare have made clear that we have to guarantee our safety in numerous ways. That is why we have decided to increase in-house safety. This means we involve all our employees, so the people who are really out there providing care, but office staff as well. We are all responsible and everyone has an emergency response task. That is why we hired Douwe Boonstra as a safety expert and emergency response instructor. He makes sure all our personnel reach ‘basic aid worker’ at least. The EROs are given additional training for coordinating tasks.”


“During the pilot at De Voord, we learn that EROs have to coordinate and manage more. This is a shift and that responsibility is not something you want to give to all employees. EROs are therefore trained within the company with the use of scenarios that Douwe feels require attention.”


In De Voord, 80% to 90% of inhabitants are not self-sufficient. That is why Stan safety staff really add value for Het Baken, Jan feels. “There are many clients who require help in evacuation. And you can’t forego technology in a building like ours, which is actually pretty complex.”

Working with Stan aid workers

Jan is very positive about working with the Stan aid workers: “With what I have seen so far, I think it’s fantastic. These are all motivated people. They’re not here for the excitement, but want to help prevent an emergency escalating further. Stan aid workers may make more of a difference than our company EROs, because they act more resolutely, because they get called out more. So they know how to handle the chaos of a real emergency”.


Lastly we ask what Jan’s expectations are regarding Stan safety staff: “I expect a good and sound system to be set up. And that when we call the emergency number 112, we automatically receive extra sets of hands. And I’m not expecting 100 people to show up, either. 4 or 5 even would be great!”