Building incidents and emergencies can occur at any time, and can arise from a number of causes including fire, medical emergencies, chemical spills, gas leaks, bomb threats and physical threats. Any of these may threaten the safety of building occupants. The University of Sydney is committed to establishing and maintaining procedures to control emergency situations that could adversely affect staff, students, affiliates and visitors.

This section of the website outlines the University’s requirements for local building based emergency preparedness and response, and provide a framework for implementation. The framework provided and the procedures outlined have been developed with reference to:

  • Australian Standard 3745-2010 Emergency control organisation and procedures for buildings, structures and workplaces
  • The University of Sydney Level 1 Incident Response Plan (IRP)
  • The University of Sydney Level 2 Emergency Management Plan (EMP)
  • The University of Sydney WHS Policy.


This information is primarily for heads of schools/units; staff acting as part of an emergency control organisation; and teaching staff. However, it also applies to all staff and affiliates.

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Incident means an event (eg. alarm, small chemical spill), which requires an immediate response, but can be managed relatively quickly using local resources, possibly with the assistance of the Emergency Services.

Emergency means an incident which becomes more serious and requires management coordination to address the wider implications. An emergency usually involves intervention by the Emergency Services.

Emergency control organisation (ECO) is a structured organisation that will provide an appropriate initial response to incidents or emergency situations within a building. The ECO will consist of the chief and deputy chief warden, emergency wardens with responsibility for designated areas of the building and nominated first aid officers. The ECO will be under the control of a chief warden who will be appointed by and report to the heads of the schools, disciplines, units with staff occupying the building.

Head refers to a head of school, discipline, department or unit.

Performance standards

  1. An emergency control organisation will be established in every University building and other buildings occupied by University staff or students.
  2. The ECO should meet as required, but at least once every six months.
  3. Building emergency procedures must be established, regularly reviewed and updated to account for changes in personnel, building use and building alterations.
  4. All areas of each building shall participate in an emergency evacuation exercise at least once per year.