Safety, Health and Injury Management and Wellbeing

Responsibility and duty of the Emergency Control Organisation

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

Further Information

Evacuation drills


Training available to Wardens and Emergency Control Organisation members includes:

Building wardens

The following outlines the duties of Emergency Control Organisation members on noticing or becoming aware of an emergency.

Responsibility for developing and implementing emergency procedures at the University rests with management:

  • Vice-chancellor
  • deans
  • heads of school.

The Emergency Control Organisation facilitates the safe and orderly implementation of the emergency procedures in a building, including the evacuation of the occupants from the building when appropriate. The Emergency Control Organisation is a structured organisation of people employed within a building who take command on the declaration of an emergency, pending the arrival of the fire brigade or other emergency service.

The Emergency Control Organisation comprises and outlines the duties of:

  1. Chief wardens
  2. Deputy Chief wardens
  3. Area warden
  4. First aid personnel
  5. Specialists - Chemists for example
  6. Visibility
  7. Indemnity

Management should encourage the implementation of an Emergency Control Organisation and emergency evacuation procedures within all workplaces at the University. It is their ultimate responsibility to ensure that:

  • Members are appointed to the Emergency Control Organisation for the building
  • Emergency Control Organisation members have training in emergency procedures
  • Management support the Emergency Control Organisation with appropriate resources and authority.

Members of the Emergency Control Organisation should be mature, responsible, physically capable and have the confidence of building occupants.

During emergencies, instructions from UWA Emergency Control Organisation personnel and fire and rescue services personnel overrule the normal management structure.

For buildings with joint occupancy, all areas shall contribute members to the Emergency Control Organisation in proportions of equivalent full-time staff in occupancy.

Chief warden

A Chief warden on becoming aware of a potential emergency shall determine the nature of the emergency and decide on the appropriate action. If an emergency is declared, the Chief warden shall initiate the emergency procedures including the following actions:

  • ensure that the appropriate emergency service has been notified. This can be achieved by contacting UWA Security on phone (+61 8) 6488 2222
  • ensure that the area wardens are advised of the situation
  • initiate evacuation of the building/workplace
  • brief emergency service personnel on their arrival and thereafter act on the instructions of the emergency service's senior officer
  • being available, or organising area warden cover, at all times that the building is normally occupied
  • organising and distributing to all wardens and to all building occupants relevant information for use in an emergency, including details of the fire alarm system , the emergency warning system and the emergency procedures
  • prominently displaying evacuation procedures and plans for areas. Assistance in this can be obtained from UWA Safety and Health
  • maintaining and distributing to all building occupants a current list of all area wardens and their deputies, including telephone numbers and locations
  • training, or organising the training of, newly-appointed area wardens in Emergency Control Organisation operations.

It will be a matter of careful arrangement, for which the Chief warden is responsible, that all areas of the workplace have wardens at all times during normal working hours.

Deputy Chief wardens

A deputy Chief warden is required to perform the duties of the Chief warden if that person is unavailable during an emergency.

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Area wardens

Area wardens are responsible for individual workplaces or areas of a workplace. Area wardens, on becoming aware of an emergency, should implement the emergency procedures for their floor, including:

  • ascertain the extent of the emergency
  • assist people in immediate danger;
  • raise alarm including initiating break glass alarms and shouting "Fire! Fire! Fire!"
  • attempt to extinguish fire if safe to do so
  • implement evacuation of their workplace
  • perform methodical search of their area to ensure that all persons have been notified of emergency and have, or are leaving, the workplace to the cluster point
  • assist mobility impaired persons
  • prevent persons from entering the building while the evacuation alarms are sounding by placing a staff member at their exit
  • communicate with the Chief warden.

Evacuation procedures outline tasks required in an emergency.

Area wardens should be appointed for each floor or zone of a building, to control the emergency procedures for that area, generally as directed by the Chief warden. However, area wardens have the authority to evacuate their area if there is any impending danger.

Area wardens must be familiar with:

  • the operation of the fire alarm system, the emergency warning system and any other equipment used to assist in the operation of emergency procedures for the building
  • the area, floor or zone, they represent, including:
    • all means of egress and alternative escape routes
    • the existence and position of rooms leading off blind passages; doors leading to dead-ends and any other confined areas in which persons could be located
    • potentially hazardous materials or operations undertaken in their zone
    • the location and operation of fire doors, smoke doors, fire blankets, portable fire extinguishers and fire hoses in their area
    • the number and location of mobility-impaired persons in their area
  • It is important that an area warden or a deputy area warden be available for each area during periods of normal occupancy. If possible, at least one area warden should be appointed each twenty persons employed in every area.
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Deputy area wardens

A deputy area warden should be appointed for each area warden. These deputies assume the responsibilities of the area warden when the latter is absent and otherwise assist as required.

First aid personnel

On hearing the alarm, personnel will make contact with the Chief warden and make their way to the building assembly area with equipment to render first aid as required.


Depending on the area, building or otherwise, a specialist may be required in the case of special hazards that may arise in the event of a fire in the area. An example would be a chemist who can assist with the assessment on the effects of certain chemicals in a fire environment.

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To assist building occupants and emergency services personnel to identify Emergency Control Organisation personnel during an emergency the Chief warden should wear a white vest with "Chief Warden" and all area wardens should wear red vests with 'Warden' written on them. For information on how to obtain these vests contact UWA Safety and Health on (+61 8) 6488 3938.

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All University Chief and area wardens are protected under the terms of the University's Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance policies whilst undertaking their duties. These policies apply to all University staff provided they act within the scope of their duties and training and/or act in good faith. Protection is not provided under these policies for non-University related activities.

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