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Responsibilities and Training

Establish a Chain of Command

A chain of command links one person with overall responsibility for managing an emergency to others who are responsible for carrying out specific emergency-response tasks. A chain of command establishes who is in charge and ensures that everyone in the chain responds to emergencies in an organized way.

At the top of the chain is the trained emergency evacuation coordinator who has overall responsibility for managing emergencies. Just below the emergency evacuation coordinator are the volunteer evacuation wardens.

Who is in Charge?

Building Evacuation due to Fire - Austin Community College

It is common practice to select a responsible individual to lead and coordinate your emergency plan and evacuation. The highest-ranking responder will assume the incident command role and will work with the onsite emergency coordinator, but will be responsible for directing all response activities.

When emergency officials, such as the local fire department, respond to and emergency at your workplace, they will assume responsibility for the safety of building occupants and have the authority to make decisions regarding evacuation and whatever other actions are necessary to protect life and property.

It is critical that employees know who the coordinator is and understand that this person has the authority to make decisions during emergencies. The coordinator should be responsible for assessing the situation to determine whether an emergency exists requiring activation of the emergency procedures, overseeing emergency procedures, notifying and coordinating with outside emergency services, and directing shutdown of utilities or plant operations if necessary.

Designate Evacuation Coordinators


When drafting your emergency action plan, you may wish to select a responsible individual to lead and coordinate your emergency plan and evacuation. It is critical that employees know who the coordinator is and understand that person has the authority to make decisions during emergencies.

The coordinator should be responsible for the following:

  • Assessing the situation to determine whether an emergency exists requiring activation of your emergency procedures;
  • Supervising all efforts in the area, including evacuating personnel;
  • Coordinating outside emergency services, such as medical aid and local fire departments, and ensuring that they are available and notified when necessary; and
  • Directing the shutdown of plant operations when required.

You also may find it beneficial to coordinate the action plan with other employers when several employers share the worksite, although OSHA standards do not specifically require this.

Designate Evacuation Wardens

Fire Warden Training - Univ. of Alberta

In addition to a coordinator, you may want to designate evacuation wardens to help move employees from danger to safe areas during an emergency. Generally, one warden for every 20 employees should be adequate, and the appropriate number of wardens should be available at all times during working hours.

Employees designated to assist in emergency evacuation procedures should be trained in the complete workplace layout and various alternative escape routes. All employees and those designated to assist in emergencies should be made aware of employees with special needs who may require extra assistance, how to use the buddy system, and hazardous areas to avoid during an emergency evacuation.

Conduct Employee EAP Training

Dry vs. Watered Tree Burn - RMP Corp.

Before implementing the emergency action plan, designate and train enough people to assist in the safe and orderly emergency evacuation of employees.

Review the EAP may occur for several reasons:

  • Review the EAP with all employees when the initial plan is developed or changed.
  • Train each new employee when he or she is initially assigned to the job.
  • Review the plan with each employee when his/her actions or responsibilities under the plan change.

Effective plans often call for retraining employees annually and include drills in which employees can practice evacuating their workplace and gathering in the assembly area.

General Responsibilities


Educate your employees about the types of emergencies that may occur and train them in the proper course of action. The size of your workplace and workforce, processes used, materials handled, and the availability of onsite or outside resources will determine your training requirements.

  • Make sure all employees understand the function and elements of your emergency action plan, including types of potential emergencies, reporting procedures, alarm systems, and evacuation plans.
  • For those employees that are assigned to perform the task, make sure they are trained on emergency shutdown procedures.
  • Discuss any special hazards you may have onsite such as flammable materials, toxic chemicals, radioactive sources, or water-reactive substances.
  • Inform employees of the fire hazards to which they are exposed to and review with each employee those parts of the fire prevention plan necessary for self-protection.

Clearly communicate to your employees who will be in charge during an emergency to minimize confusion. General training for your employees should also address the following:

  • Individual roles and responsibilities;
  • Threats, hazards, and protective actions;
  • Notification, warning, and communications procedures;
  • Means for locating family members in an emergency;
  • Emergency response procedures;
  • Evacuation, shelter, and accountability procedures;
  • Location and use of common emergency equipment; and
  • Emergency shutdown procedures.

Retraining and Practice Drills

If training is not reinforced, it will be forgotten. Consider retraining employees annually.

You also may want to train your employees in first-aid procedures, including protection against bloodborne pathogens; respiratory protection, including use of an escape-only respirator; and methods for preventing unauthorized access to the site.

Once you have reviewed your emergency action plan with your employees and everyone has had the proper training, it is a good idea to hold practice drills as often as necessary to keep employees prepared. Include outside resources such as fire and police departments when possible. After each drill, gather management and employees to evaluate the effectiveness of the drill. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your plan and work to improve it.


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. This position assesses the situation to determine whether an emergency exists, oversees emergency procedures, notifies and coordinates with outside emergency services, and directs the shutdown of utilities or plant operations if necessary.

2. Who assumes the incident command role and is responsible for directing all emergency response activities?

3. In which of the following situations should the EAP be reviewed with all employees?

4. Which of the following EAP topics, responsibilities and actions does NOT need to be understood by all employees?

5. It is a good idea to hold practice drills _____ to keep employees prepared.

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.