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Emergency Planning Committee

Who is it and what does it do?

The requirements for an emergency planning committee (EPC) are laid out in AS3745 - Planning for emergencies in facilities. At its most basic the EPC is responsible for emergency planning in the facility, making sure there are appropriate procedures in place to handle an emergency situation and that the resources are available to deal with them. Lets have a look at some of the requirements AS3745 sets out for an emergency planning committee.


Each facility shall have an EPC formed by the persons responsible for the facility, its occupants and visitors. Depending on the nature of the facility or facilities each may have its own EPC, or a single EPC may oversee several facilities, whichever is most appropriate. This is a judgement that the owner/responsible persons need to make to determine which would be most suitable for their needs.

The people responsible for the safety of the facility, its occupants and visitors (usually the owner or occupier) needs to ensure that the EPC has sufficient resources to enable the development and implementation of the emergency plan.


The EPC is responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of the emergency plan, emergency response procedures and associated training. The duties of the EPC include:

Identifying events that could reasonably cause an emergency situation

Identify things that could be reasonably expected to cause emergency situations in your facility, for example fire, medical emergencies, bomb threats, criminal action. Some facilities will have to consider specific threats, for example bushfires, while other facilities would consider that an unreasonable event due to their distance from any bushland, or your facility may be in a flood prone area and need to account for that in the emergency management plans.

Developing an emergency plan

Once you have established the reasonable causes and types of emergencies your facility may face you need to develop an action plan for how you would optimally deal with such emergencies. This is called an emergency plan and will be discussed more in its own section. It is also the EPCs duty to nominate the validity period for the emergency plan (not more than 5 years) after which it needs to be reviewed to ensure it is still applicable.

Ensuring that the emergency plan is readily identifiable and available to the appropriate persons

The EPC needs to make sure that the people who need to implement the provisions in the emergency plan have access to it, this would normally be at least members of the emergency control organisation but may include other stakeholders or relevant people as determined necessary by the EPC

Establishing an emergency control organisation (ECO) to  operate in accordance with the emergency plan

In order to actually implement the emergency plan people need to be appointed to do so. This is called the emergency control organisation and is most recognised by people as "wardens", although other positions usually exist as well. This is covered in more detail in the emergency control organisation page.

Establishing a specialist emergency response team if deemed necessary

Some facilities will require specialist emergency response teams (ERT) to deal with the dangers on their specific site. An ERT will typically be trained in the use of appropriate specialist equipment, for example breathing apparatus, lay-flat hose or rescue kits as deemed appropriate for the specific risk they are intended to counter.

Maintaining the ECO

Continued operation of the ECO is important, so its the EPC's job to make sure that the ECO can continue to operate in the event of resignations, or members being on leave. Its best to have more members of the ECO than you would normally need to account for times when some members are away, or for the possibility of a sudden change in staffing.

Maintaining the emergency response procedures

The emergency response procedures need to be tested at least annually to provide the EPC an opportunity to review them for viability and effectiveness. Even in cases where the emergency procedures are functioning fine, the emergency plan itself needs to be reviewed after the validity period in any case.


Who makes up the EPC? Well while the stakeholders have a significant degree of freedom in forming an EPC there are a few requirements. First, it must consist of at least two people (unless the facility is owned an occupied by a single person), one of whom will be management. At least one member of the EPC must be a "competent person", which basically means that it is a person who has sufficient experience, training, education, qualifications or some combination of those to perform their role acceptably.

Some considerations advised by AS3745 are that in most facilities an EPC would comprise of senior management, tenants, the chief warden and specialist facility personnel (for example the head of maintenance or any other role that makes the persons knowledge and perspective valuable). It is suggested that if reasonably available an occupant with a disability is also on the EPC, as the effectiveness of the EPC's provisions extend to how it provides for occupants with a disability.

It is generally advised against having external contractors or consultants as members of the EPC, but it is common to have them attend EPC meetings to provide advice and perspective.


The EPC must meet at least once a year and maintain a record of the meeting. Records can include minutes, specialist advice received, communications and reports about the facility.