Title: Emergency preparedness in fitness facilities: bridging the gap between policy and practice

Authors: Betul Sekendiz; Kevin Norton; Patrick Keyzer; Joachim Dietrich; Ian R. Coyle; Shannon Gray; Caroline F. Finch

Addresses: School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences, Central Queensland University, Queensland, Australia ' School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, South Australia, Australia ' School of Law, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia ' Faculty of Law, Bond University, Queensland, Australia ' School of Law, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia ' Insurance Work and Health Group, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Victoria, Australia ' Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention, Federation University, Victoria, Australia

Abstract: Fitness facilities are an important contributor to economies through preventative health policies of governments. Therefore, it is crucial that they are capable of ensuring the health and safety of their users during emergency situations under relevant work health and safety (WHS) legislation. This study aimed to analyse emergency response preparedness in fitness facilities in Australia and develop evidence-based strategic recommendations, using a mixed methods approach. An onsite observational audit tool and in-depth interviews were conducted at a sample of regional and metropolitan fitness facilities. The results showed that fitness facilities showed a lack of operational emergency response practices that requires an integrated approach to risk management by fitness facility operators. This gap between policy and practice has significant implications for all stakeholders involved in fitness service provision, including government agencies, academia and industry governing organisations.

Keywords: fitness facilities; risk management; safety; emergency preparedness; emergency response; policy development; observational audit; fitness industry.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBCRM.2018.090595

International Journal of Business Continuity and Risk Management, 2018 Vol.8 No.1, pp.71 - 85

Received: 20 Sep 2017
Accepted: 12 Nov 2017

Published online: 12 Mar 2018 *

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