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Be Prepared

Tablet with evacuation plan

Emergency and Evacuation Planning Guide for Employers

Emergency Action Plan

The purpose of an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. The elements of the plan should include, but are not limited to:

  • Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
  • Procedures to account for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed
  • Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are to perform them
  • Means of reporting fires and other emergencies
  • Names or job titles of persons who can be contacted for further information or explanation of duties under the plan


Evacuation Elements

A disorganized evacuation can result in confusion, injury, and property damage. When developing your emergency action plan, it is important to determine the following:

  • Conditions under which an evacuation would be necessary
  • Conditions under which it may be better to shelter-in-place
  • A clear chain of command and designation of the person in your business authorized to order an evacuation or shutdown
  • Specific evacuation procedures, including routes and exits
  • Specific evacuation procedures for high-rise buildings
    • For employers
    • For employees
  • Procedures for assisting visitors and employees to evacuate, particularly those with disabilities or who do not speak English
  • Designation of what, if any, employees will remain after the evacuation alarm to shut down critical operations or perform other duties before evacuating
  • A means of accounting for employees after an evacuation
  • Special equipment for employees


What should employers do when an emergency occurs?

  • Sound appropriate alarms and instruct employees to leave the building
  • Notify, police, firefighters or other appropriate emergency personnel
  • Take a head count of employees at designated meeting locations, and notify emergency personnel of any missing workers


Employee Responsibilities

What actions should employees know before an emergency occurs?

  • Be familiar with the work site's emergency evacuation plan
  • Know the pathway to at least two alternative exits from every room/area at the workplace
  • Recognize the sound/signaling method of the fire/evacuation alarms
  • Know who to contact in an emergency and how to contact them
  • Know how many desks or cubicles are between your workstation and two of the nearest exits so you can escape in the dark if necessary
  • Know where the fire/evacuation alarms are located and how to use them
  • Report damaged or malfunction safety systems and back-up systems



For a comprehensive list of plan items and more information visit the U.S. Department of Labor.

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