AbleToTrain by Willing & Able

What components comprise the emergency plan? – part 1

The following items are included in the emergency plan:

  • All potential emergencies, their consequences, required actions, written procedures, and available resources.

  • Detailed lists of emergency responders, including cell phone numbers, alternate contact information, and duties and responsibilities.

  • Plans for the ground floor.

  • Maps at a large scale depicting evacuation routes and service conduits (such as gas and water lines).

Because the plan is likely to result in a large document, it should provide staff members with separate written instructions about their specific emergency response duties.

The following are some examples of emergency plan components. These elements may not cover every situation in every workplace, but they can be used as a general guideline when developing a workplace-specific plan:


The goal is a brief summary of the plan’s purpose, which is to reduce human injury and damage to property and the environment in an emergency. It also specifies which staff members will be in charge of putting the plan into action. Because the normal chain of command is not always available on short notice, the objective clearly identifies who these staff members are. When the premises are occupied, at least one of them must be present at all times. The scope of these personnel’s authority must be clearly stated.


One person should be appointed and trained to serve as both the Emergency Coordinator and the “back-up” coordinator. Personnel on the scene during an emergency, on the other hand, are critical in ensuring that prompt and efficient action is taken to minimize loss. Off-duty employees may be recalled to assist in some cases, but critical initial decisions must usually be made immediately.

Duties, responsibilities, authority, and resources must all be clearly defined. Among the duties that must be delegated are:

  • Reporting the emergency.

  • Activating the emergency plan.

  • Assuming overall command.

  • Establishing communication.

  • Providing medical aid.

  • Alerting staff.

  • Ordering response, including evacuation.

  • Alerting external agencies, as necessary.

  • Confirming evacuation is complete.

  • Alerting the outside population of possible risk, as necessary.

  • Requesting external aid.

  • Coordinating activities of various groups.

  • Advising relatives of casualties.

  • Providing medical aid.

  • Ensuring emergency shut offs are closed.

  • Sounding the all-clear.

  • Advising the media.

The previously developed summary of responses for each emergency situation should be used to complete this list of responsibilities. There must be enough alternates for each responsible position to ensure that someone with authority is on-site at all times.

External organizations that may be able to help (with varying response times) are as follows:

  • Fire departments.

  • Mobile rescue squads.

  • Ambulance services.

  • Police departments.

  • Telephone companies.

  • Hospitals.

  • Utility companies.

  • Industrial neighbors.

  • Government agencies.

These organizations should be contacted early in the planning process to discuss their respective roles in the event of an emergency. Mutual aid agreements with other industrial facilities in the area should be investigated.

To avoid conflicting responsibilities, pre-planned coordination is required. The police, fire department, ambulance service, rescue squad, company fire brigade, and first aid team, for example, may all be on the scene at the same time. In such a case, a predetermined chain of command is required to avoid organizational difficulties. Under certain conditions, an outside agency may take command.

Communication issues have been raised in a number of contexts. During an emergency, efforts should be made to find alternate means of communication, particularly between key personnel such as the overall commander, on-scene commander, engineering, fire brigade, medical, rescue, and outside agencies.

It may be necessary to plan for an emergency control center with alternate communication facilities, depending on the size of the organization and the physical layout of the premises. All personnel with alerting or reporting responsibilities must have access to an up-to-date list of cell phone numbers and addresses for those they may need to contact.