Emergency Site Evacuation

It is imperative that all employees know what to do in the event of an emergency when the construction site must be quickly evacuated. Work sites might need to be evacuated in case of fires, explosions and explosion potential, cave-ins, bomb threats and natural disasters. Planning and communication are keys to ensuring a safe evacuation. This is especially important at construction sites that face constant changes in physical layout, people, equipment, location of emergency devices, and access and evacuation routes. The supervisors must have a plan in place for the evacuation, and the employees must be informed of what to do and where to go during the emergency.

Pre-planning for an Emergency

An emergency evacuation plan should be developed at the start of the job. It should include:

  • A system to announce to the employees that the site is being evacuated.
  • A meeting place for all personnel to gather during the evacuation.
  • A designated individual who will be responsible to make sure all employees are accounted for once everyone has had time to reach the gathering site, and provide emergency response personnel the appropriate information for their rescue efforts.
  • A place where emergency phone numbers are posted. These numbers include medical emergency personnel, police, fire, EPA, health department, IOSHA, utilities, insurance carriers, etc. Numbers should be conspicuously posted near telephones, and all employees should be informed of the location(s). A responsible person should be assigned to assess and make the necessary calls. Responses will be more efficient if everyone knows whose job it is to serve as incident commander, or to take specific steps.
  • Someone assigned to talk to the media if they show up.
  • Training that ensures all workers know how to correctly use the personnel protective equipment, fire extinguishers, etc.
  • Time provided to practice the emergency procedures to ensure their effectiveness.

During the Evacuation:

  • Do Not Panic.
  • Announce to the site employees that the site should be evacuated immediately.
  • Call the main office and let them know that there is an emergency.
  • As instructed by the main office, call the proper authorities to deal with the emergency.
  • Account for all employees’ whereabouts, and let emergency response personnel know of any missing people.
  • Do not return to the site until the emergency is over.

Post-Evacuation Investigation

  • Determine the cause of the emergency.
  • Find ways to prevent the reoccurrence of the same incident.
  • Let other employees know what happened and what is being done to prevent a reoccurrence.
  • Critique the evacuation and look for areas that need improvement.

Download the recording form here.

Emergency action plan-active shooter

Active shooters are becoming more prevelant in the workplace, and you should know what to do in case an active shooter takes aim on your construction site or in the office.

Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. These situations often last only 10 to 15 minutes, many times before law enforcement arrives on the scene. So you should know in advance the steps to take to help you survive.

Have an emergency action plan and practice it. Some companies enlist the help of law enforcement for training exercises. Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting unusual behavior or circumstances.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security document, Active Shooter – How to Respond, gives guidelines to follow if you are in an active shooter situation. Here are a few of them.


  • Be aware of your environment and know at least two possible avenues of escape.
  • If there is an accessible escape path, run – even if others refuse to follow. Leave all personal items behind.
  • Help others escape if possible, but do not attempt to move wounded people.
  • If law enforcement is not on the scene, call 911 as soon as you are safe.
  • If law enforcement is on the scene, keep your hands visible at all times so they can see that you are not hiding anything.


  • If running is not possible, find a place to hide.
  • If inside, lock the door and barricade it with heavy furniture.
  • Hide behind large objects.
  • Call 911. If you cannot speak because the shooter is close by, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.
  • If your cell phone is not in use, put it on vibrate and stay quiet.


As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter. Act as aggressively as possible against the shooter. Throw items, improvise weapons, and yell. There is safety in numbers, so when possible, attack as a group.

Download a recording form here.