Policy WHS-PRO-019 Emergency Management Procedure

WHS-PRO-019 Emergency Management Procedure

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To manage escalation of emergency situations, by contributing to the implementation of emergency planning for preparation and response to identified emergencies which could affect James Cook University (JCU).


This procedure applies to all staff involved in emergency management and to JCU managed buildings with occupants (staff, students, contractors, JCU residents), volunteers, tenants, visitors, controlled entities, when responding to, and dealing with, a range of emergencies that may impact on JCU campuses, JCU remote sites, JCU residents and neighbouring businesses and residents.




All Clear

Wording used to indicate that emergency services have given authority for occupiers to return to their normal duties and that the emergency is over.

Competent Person

A person who has acquired through training, education, qualification, experience, or a combination of these, the knowledge and skill enabling them to correctly perform the required task.

Chief Coordinator

Person acting to manage JCU response to a Critical Incident.


JCU online fire safety training portal which includes Fire & Evacuation Program (FEP), first response and general evacuation instruction, warden management and training.

Critical Incident

An actual or potential incident or series of events that have the potential for catastrophic damage to people, operations and/or reputation where the University (or parts thereof) shift from routine to non-routine operation. This is usually typified by the area affected requiring additional (centralised) assistance in its management and also requiring intensive coordination and management by the Critical Incident Management Group (CIMG).

Critical Incident Management Group (CIMG)

The team brought together by the Chief Coordinator (Chief of Staff – COS) to manage the response to a Critical Incident.


An incident that arises internally, or from and external source, which may adversely affect the occupants or visitors, in a facility, and which requires an immediate response.

Emergency Assembly Point

The designated place or places where people assemble during the course of an evacuation.

Emergency Control Organisation (ECO)

A person or structured team of persons who co-ordinate and supervise emergency response, building evacuations and assist where required with emergency services.

Emergency Planning Committee (EPC)

Persons responsible for the documentation and maintenance of an emergency plan. At JCU the EPC, is the Critical Incident Management Group (CIMG)

Emergency Preparedness

The arrangement made to ensure that, should an emergency occur, all those resources and services that are needed to cope with the effects can be efficiently mobilised and deployed.

Emergency Prevention

The measure taken to eliminate the incidence of emergencies. These include the regulatory and physical measures to ensure that emergencies are prevented.


The orderly movement of people from a place of danger.

Fire Safety Advisor (FSA)

This is a compliance role under the Building Fire Safety Regulations 2008, for high occupancy buildings. Some roles of the FSA will be to provide/arrange evacuations, inspecting buildings for fire compliance, updating Emergency Evacuation Diagrams (EED), fire extinguisher and fire safety training to employees.


A finite and often isolated event which may cause injury, illness, property or environmental damage or some combination of all four in varying degrees from insignificant to catastrophic consequences, but is managed during the normal course of operations and within normal reporting lines, processes and procedures.

Incident Coordinators

The person who is nominated by the Chief Incident Co-ordinator (Chief of Staff – COS) to be the incident Co-ordinator for that incident.

Immediate Responder

A person or persons who in the early stages of an incident are responsible for the protection and preservation of life, property, evidence, and the environment


A person attending a facility on a permanent or temporary basis, such as an employee, contractor, student or resident.

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP)

An individualised emergency plan designed for an Occupant with a disability who may need assistance during an emergency.

Secondary Responder

A person or persons involved in preparing, managing, returning services, and cleaning up sites during and after an Incident requiring first responders. These sites may include crime scenes and areas damaged by fire, storm, wind, floods, earthquakes, or other natural disasters.

Shelter in Place

To seek safety within the building you already occupy, rather than to evacuate the building.


A person or group that rents and occupies a JCU building for a period of time; lessee.


A person who is temporarily visiting the facility who is not:

a) employed at or for the facility, either on a permanent, casual, temporary, or contracting basis

b) a resident; or studying at the facility.

Table of Contents


Emergency Management Planning


Emergency Preparedness: Membership, Structure and Duties


Emergency Planning Committee (EPC)


Emergency Control Organisation (ECO)


Competent Persons


JCU ECO Identification


ECO Training


Emergency Identification


Emergency Prevention


Response to Emergencies


Emergency Recovery




Post Incident

Related policy instruments


Other related documents


Schedules / Appendices



1 Emergency Management Planning

JCU Emergency Management objective is, in order of priority:

  • to prevent or minimise loss of life and/or injury to persons;
  • to prevent or minimise damage to property; and
  • to restore day to day operation back to normal as soon as possible.

JCU four (4) core components of Emergency Management are:

  • Emergency Preparedness;
  • Emergency Prevention;
  • Emergency Response;
  • Emergency Recovery.

2 Emergency Preparedness: Membership, Structure and Duties

2.1 Emergency Planning Committee (EPC)

The EPC is a group responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of documents relating to Emergency Management.   At JCU the EPC, is the Critical Incident Management Group (CIMG).

Critical Incident Management Group (CIMG)

The CIMG is the group of people convened by the Chief Coordinator (Chief of Staff – COS) to manage the University’s response to critical incident. The Chief Coordinator is the person acting to manage the University’s response to a critical incident.

2.2 Emergency Control Organisation (ECO)

At JCU the ECO is a person or structured team of competent persons, who co-ordinate and supervise emergency response, building evacuations and assist where required. Some further functions within this role include:

  • Operate portable firefighting equipment if trained to do so, and if safe to do so;
  • Manage training of ECO personnel;
  • Manage training of building occupants;
  • Arrange for evacuation exercises and review their effectiveness including improvements;
  • Ensure that a permanent record of Incident for each emergency is compiled and retained by JCU.

The ECO, may, depending on the nature and complexity of the emergency, involve all or some of the following;

  • Emergency Services which include but not limited to Emergency and local authorities - Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS), Queensland Fire and  Emergency Service (QFES),  Queensland Police Service (QPS), State Emergency Services (SES), Rural Fire Service (RFS);
  • Chief Wardens, Deputy Chief Wardens, Wardens and other key stakeholders.

During emergencies, instructions given by the ECO personnel shall take precedence over the normal management structure where required.  If a moderate-severe or critical incident occurs an Incident Coordinator will be appointed from the CIMG.

2.2.1 Competent Persons

Chief Wardens

At JCU the Chief Wardens are qualified Fire Safety Advisors (FSA).  In the event of an emergency the Chief Warden will respond and take charge of the emergency situation, conduct an initial assessment of the emergency and ensure that the appropriate emergency service has been notified, direct Deputy Chief Wardens and Wardens to various areas where evacuation or assistance may be required. It is also the role of the Chief Warden to brief the emergency services upon arrival on the type, scope and location of the emergency, including the status of any evacuation activities which may be underway.

Deputy Chief Wardens

At JCU the Deputy Chief Wardens are JCU Security. In the event of an emergency the deputy Chief Warden shall assume the responsibility normally carried out by the Chief Warden if the Chief Warden is unavailable, and otherwise assist as required.

Security will act as the Chief Warden outside the hours of 8.30am to 4.00pm, Monday to Friday as security are onsite 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


In the event of an emergency the Wardens will notify the appropriate emergency services.  If determined necessary, commence evacuation, search the floor or area to ensure all persons have evacuated, direct persons as required to assist during an emergency (e.g. persons with special needs) and report to Chief Warden on floor or area status. The Warden shall assume the responsibility of Chief Warden if the Chief / Deputy Chief Warden is unavailable.

First Aiders

First Aiders may be required to assist with immediate first aid response during the secondary response phase of the emergency situation.

2.3 JCU ECO Identification

The control of emergencies are greatly assisted if the Chief Warden and Wardens can be easily and quickly identified.  ECO personnel shall be identifiable by the use of coloured apparel (caps and vests):

  • Chief Warden / Deputy Chief Warden – White cap hat and hi-visibility vest;
  • Warden – Red cap hat and hi-visibility vest.

2.4 ECO Training

JCU Chief Wardens are qualified building Fire Safety Advisors. Initial training is completed through a registered training organisation (RTO). Refresher training is completed every three (3) years through an RTO. Chief Wardens must also complete annually the General Evacuation and First Response Instructions and ECO Instruction training. This training is through JCU online Fire Evacuation Program (FEP) “Concept”.

JCU Deputy Chief Wardens - Security - complete annual Security Officer in-house training. This training incorporates 4 modules out of the Fire Safety Advisor course content. Deputy Chief Wardens - Security also have an obligation to complete annually the General Evacuation and First Response Instructions and ECO Instruction training. This training is through JCU Fire Evacuation Program (FEP) “Concept”.

JCU Wardens have an obligation to complete annually the General Evacuation and First Response Instructions and ECO Instruction training. This training is through JCU Fire Evacuation Program (FEP) “Concept”.

Fire Extinguisher and Fire Hose training workshops are also offered to JCU ECO members.

2.5 Emergency Identification

JCU has identified and uses emergency alert codes for notification, identification and response activation.

The following is a list of incidents which have been identified as reasonable to expect and may result in an emergency.  This list is not exhaustive and as such the guidelines for response may need to be adapted to suit the situation as they may arise.

The response to an incident is dependent upon the severity level.  JCU has listed its “immediate” and “secondary” responder in the event of an emergency.

See Appendix 1: JCU Immediate and Secondary Responders in an Event of an Emergency

3 Emergency Prevention

JCU core components of Emergency Prevention include:

  • Emergency Management Procedure;
  • Emergency Management Guidelines;
  • Annual evacuation exercises;
  • General evacuation and first response instructions and ECO training;
  • Emergency evacuation diagrams (EED);
  • First aid management, hazardous chemical management, biosecurity management;
  • Maintenance programs – fire safety systems;
  • Continual grounds maintenance;;
  • Emergency preparedness inspections
  • Building audits;
  • Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP).

The JCU Work Health and Safety Unit conducts annual audits and inspections throughout the university to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements is met with regard to laboratory safety, hazardous substance safety, radiation safety, biological safety, fire safety and general safety.

All of the JCU buildings have comprehensive Fire and Emergency Plans (FEP).  The emergency plans provide clear instructions on evacuation procedures, the types and use of portable firefighting equipment, location and operation of fire indicator panels, first aid points and assembly points.  All JCU employees are required to complete this online training annually. Chief Wardens and Wardens are also required to complete this training as well as a combination of face to face or online training to gain or maintain the skills and knowledge required for the tasks which they perform.  Evacuations are conducted for each of the JCU buildings on an annual basis.

JCU is developing Emergency Management Guidelines directly relating to emergency alert colour codes.

4 Response to Emergencies

JCU classifies incidents, depending on severity, into one of five (5) categories ranging from Insignificant Incidents to Catastrophic.

Insignificant Incident – Little or no impact on business objectives.

Minor Incident – Some reprioritisation of resources required to enable key business objectives to be achieved.

Moderate Incident – Some important business objectives can no longer be achieved.

Major Incident – A number of significant business objectives can no longer be achieved.

Catastrophic Incident – Most business objectives can no longer be achieved. Complete revision of long term business models required.

(For further information please refer to JCU Risk Management Framework and Plan – Appendix B - Consequence Rating).

5 Emergency Recovery

When the emergency is brought under control, a point will be reached when the incident is declared over, this is the business recovery phase.  The Chief Warden will ensure before the “all clear” is given the area has been isolated and secured if necessary.  If declared a crime scene / suspicious circumstances the area will require inspection by fire investigators or police forensics and will remain in the control of emergency services (QFRS and QPS); this needs to be communicated via the Chief Warden.  The quality of air may need to be tested to ensure it is safe for occupants.  The Wardens may need to compile a report for the Chief Wardens debrief.  The Chief Wardens will organise debriefing sessions with other members which may include the ECO, EPC and possibly emergency services to evaluate aspects that went well and aspects that can be improved.

6 Records

The WHS Unit acknowledges record management is an essential part of emergency management.  The WHS Unit and the Estate Directorate maintain records relating to emergency management. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Annual evacuation records;
  • General evacuation and first response training records;
  • Warden training records;
  • Maintenance records;
  • Emergency preparedness inspections;
  • Building audits.

In the event of a Critical Incident, the Chief Coordinator is responsible for appointing appropriate people to document and maintain accurate records of the incident and of decisions made or action(s) taken by the Critical Incident Management Group.

All records must be retained in accordance with the retention and disposal schedules governed by the Queensland State Archives:

7 Post Incident

An emergency may cause occupants to become injured and these occupants may require treatment.  A JCU First Aider can help the injured.  On evacuation First Aider / Wardens are to bring portable first aid kits to the Emergency Assembly Points.  If more advanced treatment is required an ambulance will be called.

All emergency incidents at JCU will have a post event analysis. A general debrief will occur for insignificant and minor incidents, this is to be initiated by the Chief Wardens.  A post event investigation will be conducted for a Moderate, Major and Catastrophic Incident.  The purpose of this is to determine – what happened, outcomes, lessons learned, how JCU performed and recommended actions to prevent a similar event occurring again. This investigation is to be documented.

Depending on the incident, JCU may need to notify Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ).  The Work Health and Safety (WHS) unit will determine if it is “notifiable incident”. If it is deemed a notifiable incident the WHS unit will contact WHSQ.

JCU is dedicated to the wellbeing of its occupants.  JCU recognises that emergency incidents may be traumatic to some occupants. JCU has a free Employee Assistance Program, the service is available to JCU employees and their immediate family members (permanent continuing and fixed term, full-time and part-time staff). This program offers professional, confidential counselling. For current students JCU offers free and confidential counselling. Further information is available via the JCU website.

Critical Incident Policy

JCU Risk Management Framework and Plan

Incident Escalation and Decision Matrix

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland

Queensland Building Fire Regulations 2008

Planning for Emergencies in Facilities Standard

Managing the Work Environment and Facilities Code of Practice


Appendix 1: JCU Immediate and Secondary Responders in the Event of an Emergency

WHS-PRO-GUI-019a Medical Emergency Guideline

WHS-PRO-GUI-019b Fire Smoke Guideline

WHS-PRO-GUI-019c Bomb Threat Guideline

WHS-PRO-GUI-019d Cyclone Guideline

WHS-PRO-CHK-019e Emergency Evacuation Observation Checklist


NOTE:  Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy Sponsor

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Services and Resources

Version no


Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date






Minor amendment due to nomenclature change – Health Safety and Environment Unit to Work Health and Safety Unit

WHS Administrative Officer




Procedure Established

HSE System Officer