Emergency Action Plan Template

Updated July 13, 2022

An emergency action plan helps to mitigate the worst outcomes and minimize harm to both people and place in the event of a workplace emergency. Nobody expects a workplace incident – but if things go wrong, the consequences are not just a matter of luck.

What is an Emergency Action Plan?

An Emergency Action Plan is more than just a list of evacuation routes. It covers all major dimensions of an emergency response.

Most workplaces are required by law to establish emergency plans. If the company employs more than ten people, then this plan must be in writing. Yet whether obligatory or not, it is always wise to put an Emergency Action Plan in writing and share it with all employees.

What must an Emergency Action Plan include?

Plans will vary depending on the nature of the workplace. For example, a power plant or other volatile site might require some employees to evacuate after completing specific on-site tasks. In any case, all plans should include:

  • Clear procedures for reporting emergencies;
  • The names of employees who have been assigned responsibility for leading evacuations;
  • The location where employees will reconvene and a process for conducting a headcount; and
  • Detailed evacuation routes.

Emergency Action Plan Guide

1. Set up a system for reporting emergencies

Employees should be encouraged to report all potential emergencies. It is always better to err on the side of caution. The Emergency Action Plan should provide specific directions for reporting. Should all issues be phoned into the police, or is there another means of notification? Are there alternative authorities – e.g., a campus or office park security service – that should be contacted first?

2. Create evacuation procedures

This is the crux of the Emergency Action Plan. This section details when, how, and why evacuations should occur. Who is authorized to order an evacuation, and why? Where should employees evacuate to? Are any actions required prior to evacuation, such as shutting windows or powering-down machinery?

Regardless of the size of the workplace, it is standard practice to post publicly-visible evacuation route maps.

Evacuation procedures should be reviewed periodically with employees. When conducting evacuation drills, employees should not just be judged on speed, but also on whether they have to use the dictated routes and generally followed proper evacuation procedures.

3. Appoint leaders

The plan should assign responsibility to specific individuals for overseeing evacuations. In some workplaces, leaders are given bright vests or other garb to don during an incident.

4. Create a safe space and headcount area

Workers should reconvene at a designated space that is beyond any prospective danger, and a head count should be commenced as quickly as possible. The location of this “safe space” along with count responsibilities should be clearly laid out in the Emergency Action Plan.