Emergency management planning for businesses and large residential complexes

Whether your business or building is small or large, you should have an emergency management plan in place.

Your plan should:

  • be developed by a committee with emergency management responsibilities. Members of the committee may include the chief warden, building owners and building managers
  • comply with the relevant Australian Standards, regulations and laws
  • be tailored to your particular business and building, and be rehearsed regularly with employees and tenants, so they are familiar with the procedures and protocols.

Your 5 Step Plan

The 5 steps below are a guide to help you develop your own emergency management plan.

1. Establish an emergency planning committee

This committee is responsible for developing and implementing your emergency management plan. The committee should include key personnel such as the chief warden and building manager. Designate which committee members will be responsible for delivering messages to employees and tenants in an emergency.

2. Analyse your business and identify the risks

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to consult with senior management, the facilities manager and other key personnel. This process should include reviewing all your internal policies as well as external codes and regulations. As part of this process you will need to identify the services, operations and products that are critical to your business and develop a list of all resources including personnel, equipment, facilities and any backup that may be required in an emergency.

To assess the risks, consider what is likely to happen in an emergency and what effect this could have on your business. Investigate any possible liability issues and make sure that your plan complies with relevant Australian Standards, regulations and legislation.

3. Develop your plan

Your plan should reflect the size and nature of your business/building. Don't use technical language – everyone should be able to understand it. Your plan should explain what it's for and clearly outline what employees or residents should do in an emergency.

The plan should also cover other emergency management elements such as direction and control, communications, community outreach and recovery and restoration. You should also include any supporting documents and information you might need such as contact databases and maps. A training schedule should also be included.

4. Rehearse your plan

Test your employees' and tenants' understanding of the plan with full emergency drills at least twice a year, or written exercises.

5. Review the plan

It is vital to regularly review and monitor your plan to ensure it is up-to-date and effective.

Australian Standards

When you prepare your emergency management plan, you should consult with the following Australian Standard (AS):

AS 3745 – Planning for emergencies in facilities

Visit Australian Standards for more information.

Legislation and regulations

You should consult these laws and regulations when preparing your emergency management plan: