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How to Develop a Department Emergency Action Plan

Use this step-by-step guide to prepare a Department Emergency Action Plan.

1. Request maps for your emergency response region and building(s).

  • E-mail EH&S with your request. Ask for a printout or electronic image file of your department's:
    • Emergency response region
    • Building floor plans
  • Review the building floor plans when you receive them. Note any differences in the location of emergency response devices or evacuation routes.
  • Identify areas of refuge in your building. Areas of refuge are building locations where people who are unable to exit may await evacuation assistance from emergency personnel.
    • Note: Emergency exit corridors and smoke-protected stairwells are resistant to fire and smoke for approximately 2 hours. These are the safest areas during an emergency evacuation. Rescue personnel are instructed to check all exit corridors and stairwells first for any stranded persons.
  • For special services, contact us to:
    • Request to customize your maps to show unique hazards or special features for your Emergency Action Plan; and or,
    • Laminate maps to make them more durable

2. Find important features on the maps for your Emergency Action Plan.

  • Assembly areas — large open spaces with easy access (usually parking lots or recreational fields)
    • Designate an assembly area where your group will gather in case of evacuation.
    • Avoid selecting a site near fire hydrants or building entrances, which are likely staging areas for emergency responders.
  • Emergency containers — 8-by-10-foot steel containers stocked with equipment and supplies for emergency responders
  • Hazardous materials usage area — buildings where chemicals, radioactive materials, or infectious substances are used
    • These areas are marked in red on the regional maps.
    • Direct people to move away from these buildings and avoid gathering downwind from them after evacuating.
  • Emergency call boxes — usually bright yellow
    • Several dozen call boxes are located around campus and SIO mostly in parking lots, as well as near residential housing and in remote locations.
    • Callers are immediately connected with the UC San Diego Police dispatcher who can send officers as needed.

3. Provide emergency contact information for the facility

Provide emergency contact information for the plan's location, including after hours contact information for key personnel, if appropriate.

4. Identify hazards and how to respond

Identify hazards unique to the location, along with corresponding response strategies that minimize exposure to hazardous conditions during an emergency. Examples of what to consider include:

  • Preparing for sudden and unexpected power failures
  • An outdoor area to assemble and take a head count when your building is evacuated
  • Special needs for people with disabilities, visitors, and small children
  • Hazardous materials or equipment

5. Plan for individuals who may need special assistance.

6. Incorporate other resources.

7. Delegate responsibilities.

  • Determine who will assist students, patrons, and visitors during an emergency.
  • Identify individuals with disabilities and the people assigned to assist them.

8. Start writing.

  • Use this template (Word file), if you need a starting point.
  • Customize the template for your department.
  • Keep it simple! Your co-workers are more likely to read a short, concise emergency plan.

9. Review your plan when you've finished writing it.

Make sure you've answered these questions:

  • How do I summon emergency personnel?
  • What are the potential risks in my department's workplace?
  • Where are the fire extinguishers, alarm pulls, and emergency exits in my building(s)?
  • How do I operate emergency equipment such as fire alarms and fire extinguishers?
  • What are the quickest routes for evacuating my building(s)?
  • Where are the areas of refuge? An area of refuge is a building location where people can wait for emergency assistance when evacuation may not be safe or possible.
  • Has an outdoor assembly area been identified?
  • Do we need special equipment? For example: an emergency generator or power source?

10. Make your department aware of the Emergency Action Plan.

  • Distribute copies of the Emergency Action Plan to co-workers.
  • Post it on department bulletin boards.
  • Update and redistribute your plan annually, or when significant changes impact your plan.
  • Make sure new hires receive a copy of the plan.
Contact EH&S Emergency Management and Mission Continuity (858) 295-9819.