How to develop an emergency action plan – a set of steps to follow when your business is forced to stop operating due to an emergency situation.
Emergency management & recovery | Develop your emergency action plan
An emergency action plan is a set of steps to follow when your business is forced to stop operating due to an emergency situation. It’s invaluable when protecting your business, and for certain organisations it’s mandatory. There are a number of obligations and standards to help you implement best practice emergency management.
Planning well in advance will mean that in the event of an emergency situation, you have already taken some steps to protect your business.
Consider the following when developing your emergency action plan.
List your emergency contacts
Keep a list of key emergency phone numbers in a secure offsite location. These should include the local state emergency, police, fire and ambulance services. You could also include a list of recovery contacts such as phone numbers of your insurance company, bank or building society, employees, suppliers and any other key people.
Review your evacuation procedures
Your business should already have an evacuation procedure as part of your Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) obligations, and incorporating this into your emergency action plan is a good idea. Consider expanding your current evacuation procedures to include broader emergency scenarios that may involve different or additional procedures.
Create an emergency kit
An emergency kit is a collection of useful items and documents that may be needed in an emergency situation. Include items such as key documents, phone numbers and emergency equipment – for example a torch, first aid kit, portable radio, plastic bags and spare batteries. Your kit should be kept in a prominent place that is easily accessible in an emergency situation.
Set up an emergency action team & communicate
Communication is essential when considering emergency planning and procedures. Consider allocating a person/people to be responsible for any emergency situation. Set clear roles and responsibilities and train them appropriately.
Through your emergency staff, you can communicate all relevant emergency information to all your employees. Display your evacuation plan, key phone numbers and emergency supplies (including emergency kits) in a prominent location and let your employees know where to find it.
Rehearse your plan
Expanding on your fire evacuation drills to include larger scenarios could mean you’re much more prepared in the event of an emergency. An emergency action plan will have little impact if it isn’t communicated and rehearsed regularly.
Keep it up to date
When you rehearse your plan you may find that there are missing elements or steps that need to be changed. This is your opportunity to update your plan to ensure your emergency procedures are as efficient as possible.
It’s also important to update your plan each time you have staffing changes, or when you move to a new business location.
What to do…
- Download our Emergency management & recovery plan template to complete your own emergency action plan and use our Prepare your business checklist for a quick reference of all the steps you should consider when preparing for an emergency.
- Download Emergency Management Australia’s Preparing for the Unexpected publication for detailed advice on emergency preparation.
- For more information on your OH&S obligations, see our Occupational health & safety topic.