|  5 min read

Why you need an emergency preparedness plan + template

Why you need an emergency preparedness plan + template Photo

By the end of this year 90% of companies expect to have returned to the office to some degree, but as they transition back to the office after years of function as remote they’ll likely experience that the manual and customized solutions that worked for IT, physical security, facility management and visitor experiences doesn’t cut it anymore.

Especially when it comes to security concerns the reality has changed since before the pandemic, and having a functional and up-to-date emergency preparedness plan is even more important now than it ever was.

In this article we’ll break down why you need an emergency plan as well as which strategies and tools will help protect your organization.

What is an emergency preparedness plan?

On the top level an emergency preparedness plan is a strategy you create to guide actions and ease decision making during an on-site emergency.

An emergency preparedness plan would usually include information on what to do during natural disasters and fires. For organizations like banks or stores it would also cover plans related to robberies, and for critical organizations like healthcare facilities it would also include information on procedures and processes during a power outage.

What you need to include in your emergency preparedness plan

Exactly what to include in your emergency plan will be very dependent on your organization and which industry you work in. For instance, the risks posed in a food and beverage manufacturing plant are very different from those posed in a healthcare facility or an amusement park.

With that said there are a number of things you want to include in your emergency plan for almost any type of organization:

  • Real-time visitor and employee log
  • Emergency alert system
  • Floor plans with clear emergency exits
  • Description of physical access control
  • Real-time tracking
  • Reporting and analytics.

What is the risk of not having an emergency preparedness plan?

The risk of not having an emergency plan is that you will leave your organization vulnerable to a wide range of incidents, but what is worse is that the lack of proper response will increase the negative impact of those events whether it is due to the event itself escalating or it is due to legal action taken against your organization after the event has occurred.

Employee safety risks

Not preparing a strategy for emergencies like a fire or another on-site crisis may end up harming employees or visitors who are on-site during the emergency. A good emergency preparedness plan will help you ensure that both employees and visitors are safely evacuated and accounted for.

Compliance violations

Having an emergency plan is a requirement of several compliance standards, for instance OSHA requires your organization to be prepared for potential emergencies. In the same vein most countries require employers to have different types of emergency policies in place, like violence prevention plans, workplace evacuation plans etc.

And a potential compliance violation just adds on to the risks of an emergency as failure to comply not only increases the risk if an emergency were to happen but could also result in fines or penalties.

Download every checklist you'll ever need for facilities compliance right here

Financial liability

Not having an emergency plan could also expose your organization to a number of financial risks. These can include everything from direct costs like fines or legal fees and increased operating expense, but it could also be the result of more indirect costs like loss of revenue, an increased price of your insurance premium etc.

Legal liability

Every organization has a duty to ensure the safety and security of any individual on their premises, from visitors and employees to contractors and customers. And failing to address the security of even one of these groups in your emergency preparedness plan could lead to legal liability in the event of an incident.

How visitors affect your emergency preparedness plan

Visitors are the big unknown in any emergency - for a variety of reasons, but especially if your visitor management process is outdated. And this presents you with several different challenges you need to address in your emergency preparedness plan.

  1. Increased risk exposure
  2. Resource allocation
  3. Communication challenges

Increased risk exposure

First and foremost visitors bring an element of unpredictability to the operations of your premises. While a visitor could be the cause of an incident, it is much more likely that visitors lacking an understanding of the emergency procedures of your facility will lead to an increased risk.

Because of that, your emergency preparedness plan should include information on how you will communicate essential security and safety information to visitors both before they enter the premises but also during an incident.

Resource allocation

Your plan needs to include information on the strain visitors are expected to put on emergency resources like first aid, communication and evacuation, otherwise the presence of visitors could end up compromising the safety of your employees.

Communication challenges

While internal slack channels or alarm apps are very useful for handling communication with employees during an emergency the same isn’t the case when you need to communicate to your visitors. If they don’t have slack on their phones you won’t be able to communicate with them through that channel, and making them download specific apps tied to your alarm system quickly becomes a nuisance.

Create your own emergency preparedness plan with our template

You can tailor this template to begin creating your own emergency preparedness plan.

Emergency Preparedness Plan

Scope and application

This emergency preparedness plan is designed to mitigate, respond to, and recover from various potential emergencies or disasters that may affect [COMPANY NAME]. Further, the plan outlines protocols, procedures, and resources necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of employees, visitors, and assets during critical situations.

The application of this plan involves regular training, drills, and communication efforts to educate personnel on their roles and responsibilities, as well as to assess and improve [COMPANY NAME] readiness to handle emergencies effectively.

Emergency Contacts

List your local emergency services as well as workplace contacts such as wards, first aid officers etc. along with their phone numbers.

Contact Name Phone
Emergency services Fire/Police/Ambulance 000
Fire warden (internal)    
First aid office    
WHS officer    
Security office    
State Emergency Serivces    
Poison information line    

Emergency management team - roles and responsibilities

Use this section to outline the roles and responsibilities of your emergency management team and who is included. Explain each person’s responsibility in an emergency and in planning for that emergency. For instance, you might outline the training and planning procedures required for a fire warden.

Supervisors - roles and responsibilities

Use this section to outline the roles and responsibilities of supervisors both in an emergency and in planning for an emergency.

Evacuation procedures

Use this section to outline evacuation procedures and include a copy of your floor plans with details such as emergency exits, fire escapes etc. Also detail how you will ensure the safe evacuation of external visitors who will not be familiar with your facility and/or evacuation plans.

Emergency procedures

Use this section to outline procedures for potential emergency events and occurrences you have identified for your organization.

  • Include who’s to be contacted at what stage and what the means of contact should be (phone, email or otherwise)
  • Outline medical treatment (where to find emergency kits, first aid officers, supplies etc.)
  • Include brief outlines of emergencies specific to your organization/industry and how they should be handled. For some organizations detailing robbery instructions is vital, for other organizations it’s not as important.

Post emergency procedures

Include information on how and how often your procedures are tested - i.e. evacuation drills, fire alarm tests etc.


Include information on information, training and instructions. What is available to workers, where can they find it etc.

Review, recording and record keeping

Detail how you will review, report on, and what records will be kept on, emergency responses and on compliance with the plan.

Let's talk solutions

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.