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Evacuation and Abandonment Differences and Procedures

An evacuation is the removal of personnel from a dangerous place to a safe location. It can take place on land or water and can be of a specific area, or of an entire facility or building.

Abandonment is the evacuation of an entire vessel or offshore facility. Abandonment may be necessary when an emergency is out of control and there are no other options, or when remaining on the vessel or offshore base would endanger the life or health of personnel.

If an abandonment or evacuation is ordered, respond in a calm but expedient manner and never panic. Panic makes the situation much more hazardous, and can lead to injuries and death. Follow instructions by persons in charge, proceed to assembly areas or muster stations, and await further instructions.

There are two types of abandonment.

The first is a controlled abandonment, which is in response to a slow-developing emergency. This abandonment allows time to gather equipment and supplies and permits evacuation by safer means such as a boat or helicopter.

The second type is an uncontrolled abandonment, which is in response to a rapid-developing emergency. There is very little time to gather equipment or supplies, and may require evacuation by life raft or TEMPSC, which stands for Totally Enclosed Motor Propelled Survival Craft.

If the abandon ship order is given report to the muster area, don a personal flotation device (PFD), preferably type one, and wait for instructions. Do not deploy or inflate a life raft until ordered, and remember that a water entry is always the last resort.


See our Safety Training Materials to help prevent hazardous conditions at your work site.

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