Sylvia Seaberg, 2012 Chief Inspector, provides a dozen pages of careful and thoughtful advice about preparing for emergencies.
Excerpt. See the full article attached:
At sea, a potential life-threatening situation is treated as an emergency and it can be a mind-numbing experience. Successful corrective action succeeds in downgrading the emergency to an event. Dealing with the emergency should be methodical and practiced with all crew members knowing the location of emergency and survival equipment and how to use it. The only way to adequately prepare for an emergency is to insure that all crew members know the safety procedures and practice the drill of responses beforehand. Please allow adequate time to review, practice and perfect the safety/crisis management drills with all crew members.
Clearly the very best way to deal with emergencies is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Some key steps in prevention are to 1) understand what causes emergency situations in the first place and do your best to prepare against them, 2) communicate your boat’s policies regarding the wearing of personal safety gear and posting it, 3) develop your boat’s guidelines regarding other race and safety strategies, such as heavy weather sail handling and regular on-the-water systems checks and inspections, and include them in your notebook or playbook for easy reference.