Planning for emergencies

Hello everyone, Last week the 13-story apartment building I live in had a fire alarm activated. I immediately collected all of my family members, used the internal fire stairs, exited the building and proceeded to the assembly point. Within 2 minutes 3 fire trucks had arrived, and they took care of the alarm, which in the end was caused by a faulty sensor. What bothered me was there were people rubbernecking from their balconies, instead of evacuating. I asked one of the ladies at the assembly point why they were still up there, and was told ‘my husband couldn’t be bothered coming down, so he usually stays in our unit unless I give him a call to say it’s a real emergency’ How ludicrous is this? Every alarm should be treated as if it’s a real emergency. Do you have a fire evacuation plan or procedure for where you work or live? Does everyone know what the evacuation plan is, and do you practice it? Have you made provisions for people with disabilities? I have made sure my family knows what to do in an emergency, do you? AS 3745 Planning for Emergencies in Facilities should be used as guidance.

Cheers, Nick Lines EHS Advisor

Importance of planning of emergencies.

One of the most important systems for an organisation is to have a well-prepared ERP (emergency response plan) or emergency management plan. An emergency response plan refers to the specific strategy of the organisations implement, in order to reduce the harm or damage due to natural or manmade disasters. This plan includes safeguarding the employees, manpower, and property of the organisation.

Legislative Requirements.

WHS Regulations states the requirement of Emergency Plan Management in Division 4 as below. Section 42 states that duty of an employer to prepare, maintain and implement an emergency plan.

An employer or any  person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must ensure that an emergency plan is prepared and available for the workplace that provides:

  • Emergency procedures that include an effective response to an emergency,
  • Evacuation procedure,
  • Notifying emergency service organisations at the earliest opportunity,
  • First aid,
  • Medical treatment,
  • Assistance,
  • Effective communication between the person authorised by the person conducting the business,
  • Implementing emergency procedures,
  • Including the frequency of evaluation, information, instruction and training to the relevant workers about implementing the emergency procedures.

Common topics.

Below are the commonest topics to be included in emergency management plan. Injury

  • Medical emergency
  • Fire
  • Release of toxic substance
  • Violence
  • Chemical spill
  • Storms and cyclones
  • Pandemic
  • Structure collapse


WHS training contains learning elements about First aid and Emergency management plan with details that include strategies to eliminate risks to avoid harm or damage that arise as a result of the disastrous event to avoid any harm or damage and to be resilient.

An emergency plan is a detailed written set of instructions that guides the employees on what to do and what not to do in case of an emergency in the workplace. An ideal emergency plan should incorporate the emergency procedures, contact number for the emergencies, and key phone number, which is the most effective response to specific emergencies and should include procedures to be followed when evaluating the premises.

Thank you, Nick Lines, for your great work and passion for work health and safety. Sebnem (Seb) 

If anyone is wondering who Nick Lines is, Tune in to his biography  below:

Hi everyone. If you’ve wondered who’s behind some of the posts, it’s me, Nick Lines. A bit about my background. I have spent almost 30 years around military fast jet aviation and explosives, which by nature is inherently dangerous. Over time, safety became ingrained in me, and when the chance came along for me to become a Health and Safety Representative for Boeing, I leaped at the chance. Fortunately for me, Seb was my first ever safety instructor. It was her safety passion that drove me to undertake further safety training. When Boeing offered to pay for my Cert IV in Work Health and Safety, I went for it. Again, Seb was there to steer my WHS journey.

I moved into an EHS job with Boeing, earned my Diploma in WHS, and spent the next 2 years looking out for over 150 of our workers on site. Last year I quit Boeing and I am now studying full time for my Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety. One year down and 2 to go.

Hopefully, my posts will open your eyes to how I see the world of safety. When I see something, I just have to do something. My posts are mostly based on my real life, everyday experience, on topical issues and on different ways of thinking about safety. Sometimes I rant, but hey, it’s only once a week.

Please, please comment as much as you like on anything I post about because as Seb says, communicate, communicate, communicate. See ya later #NickLines


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