Resource:Emergency Action Plan Outline

Emergency Situations

Define the potential emergencies that can realistically be expected to occur such as:

  • Flooding
  • Unruly or violent customer or employee
  • High winds impacting facilities
  • Fire in buildings
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Chemical releases from thru truck traffic
  • Others?

Include all potential natural or man-made emergencies that could disrupt your workplace.  For each, define the impact of these internal and external emergencies on all workplace operations, and the response required. 

Key Individual Responsibilities

List of key personnel with contact information including:

  • Internal staff
  • Police
  • Fire
  • Hazmat
  • Contractors 

Define the responsibilities of each individual or department.  Keep the list current.

Reporting Emergencies and Alerting Employees in an Emergency

Identify a preferred method for reporting fires and other emergencies. Dialing 911 is a common method for reporting emergencies if external responders are utilized. Internal numbers may be used and are sometimes connected to intercom systems so that coded announcements may be made throughout the building.  

Describe what alarms are provided so that they are recognized by all employees as a signal to evacuate the work area or perform other actions identified in your plan. 

Evacuation Policy and Escape Routes

Identify the conditions under which an evacuation would be necessary.  Describe the realistic types of situations that will require an evacuation of the workplace such as a fire, truck tanker chemical spill, etc.  

Identify the types of actions expected of different employees for the various types of potential emergencies. For example, who will take attendance after evacuation? Who will coordinate and communicate with emergency responders?

Outline specific evacuation routes and exits. Post these in the workplace so they are easily accessible to all employees.

Describe procedures for assisting people during evacuations, including those with disabilities or who do not speak English.

Designate individuals as evacuation wardens to help move employees from danger to safe areas during an emergency. Wardens should be available at all times during working hours, and be working in the immediate range of the individual building area. 

Define procedures for wardens to determine if all employees in their assigned area are accounted for following the evacuation.

Employees who are designated to assist in emergency evacuation procedures including the workplace layout should be trained on the various alternative escape routes. Employees designated to assist in emergencies should be made aware of employees who may require extra assistance during an evacuation, how to use the buddy system, and any hazardous areas to avoid during an emergency evacuation.

Identify one or more assembly areas (as necessary for different types of emergencies) where employees can gather, and develop a method to account for all employees.  

Rescue, First Aid, and Medical Response

Define how rescue operations will be performed. You will probably choose to rely on local public resources, such as the fire department, which are trained, equipped, and certified to conduct rescues. 

Define how medical assistance will be provided. This should include immediate onsite, as well as community emergency response.

Identify where all supplies, such as first aid and Automatic External Defibrillators (AED’s), are stored.  

Decide who, if anyone will be trained in first aid and other emergency response procedures. Describe the type and frequency of the training. Identify the local ambulance service to facilitate communications and coordination of emergencies.  

Define how and where personal medical information on employees can be obtained in an emergency. In the event of an emergency, it could be important to have ready access to important personal information about your employees. This includes their home telephone numbers, the names and telephone numbers of their next of kin, and medical information.

Chain of Command and Maintenance of Operations

Identify a clear chain of command and designate a person authorized to order an evacuation or shutdown of operations.

Identify locations where utilities, such as electricity and gas, can be shut down for all or part of the facility. Only those employees familiar with the critical systems or utilities should be responsible for accomplishing this. 

Describe any auxiliary power supply provided in the event of an electrical failure.

Employee Training and Drills

Identify how and when employees will be trained and retrained so that they understand the types of emergencies that may occur and their responsibilities and actions as outlined in the plan.  Employees should be retrained when your plan changes due to a change in the layout or design of the facility, when new equipment, hazardous materials, or processes are introduced that affect evacuation routes, or when new types of hazards are introduced that require special actions. General training for your employees should address the following:

  • Individual roles and responsibilities;
  • Threats, hazards, and protective actions;
  • Notification, warning, and communications procedures;
  • Emergency response procedures;
  • Evacuation, shelter, and accountability procedures;
  • Location and use of common emergency equipment; and
  • Emergency shutdown procedures.

Depending upon the responsibilities of staff identified in the plan, you may also need to provide additional training to your employees (i.e., first-aid procedures, portable fire extinguisher use, etc.).  

Define how often drills will be conducted. Include outside resources such as fire and police departments when possible. 

Post Emergency Evaluations

After each drill, gather management and employees to evaluate the effectiveness of the drill. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your plan and work to improve it.