How important is your Emergency Control Organisation?
The Emergency Control Organisation (ECO) is the structure containing those trained persons who will respond in an emergency to ensure the appropriate response occurs and the emergency is managed effectively. The ECO is otherwise known as the Warden Structure. All workplaces need to have an ECO that reflects their specific needs to ensure the most effective response occurs for the emergencies that are identified to likely affect that workplace or facility.
Who makes up the ECO?
The ECO may include a Chief Warden, Area Wardens, Floor Wardens, Room Wardens, Deputy Wardens as well as some more specific roles such as Communications Officer, Emergency Response Teams, First Aid Officers and Traffic Wardens. The Emergency Planning Committee is responsible for assessing their workplace and facility needs in determining the best ECO structure for them. All ECO’s will have a Chief Warden as the very minimum requirement. For some workplaces, this may be all they need however more complex and diverse workplaces / facilities will need a more highly structured ECO. It really all comes down to what is the best ECO structure to ensure the effective implementation of the response to any given emergency at that location.
The Chief Warden is the main role in the ECO who will coordinate the overall response for the emergency. They will ensure that all other members of the ECO are doing what they need to do in that response. The Chief Warden will communicate with, instruct and support the Wardens in doing what they need to do. The Chief Warden will liaise with the Emergency Services.
A deputy Chief Warden will be the person who can step into the Chief Wardens role when the Chief Warden is not available. In large facilities and workplaces the Deputy Chief Warden may work along side the Chief Warden to assist them in their role.
Area Wardens will be responsible for performing their duties in specific work areas of the facility. Floor Wardens will generally be responsible for the particular floor on which they work. Room Wardens will be responsible for the occupants of specific rooms, which could be a multi workstation office.
The other specific roles will be included if the workplace/facility has that need in order to ensure an effective response occurs.
Who are the best people to fulfil the roles/position in the ECO?
You need to have people who are confident, can remain calm, can be authoritative and assertive to ensure occupants follow directions. They will need to be able to make decisions under pressure and implement procedures and responses appropriate to the emergency. The person fulfilling the role does not have to be a manager however management does need to support the people in these roles and ensure occupants respect them and listen to them during an emergency. Some positions may required particular skills or competencies to be able to fulfil the duties.
When do I need to have the ECO operating?
Depending upon your facility or workplace, you will need to have the Emergency Control Organisation filled and operating whilst ever the business is open and there are occupants on site.
The other important aspect of emergency management is acknowledging that an emergency can happen whenever it wants to. For that reason, you need to have someone in the positions of your ECO at all times to be able to respond when that emergency happens.
Australian Standard 3745- 2010 and its amendments outline the requirements for Emergency Control Organisations in workplaces and facilities. At Workplace Emergency Management, we understand Australian Standard 3745 and we can help your EPC to develop the most effective Emergency Control Organisation for you.