Loading... Please wait...

What are the Basic Response Procedures in an Emergency?

The priorities during any emergency are to first preserve human life, second, avoid injury, and third, minimize damage to the facility or vessel. Each emergency is unique and has its own hazards. The specific response will be dictated by the type of emergency, the scale of the emergency, and the time for response.

Basic steps that should always be followed in any emergency are to sound the alarm or call for help, obey all instructions from persons in charge, and never respond beyond your level of training.

The specific response to each emergency is unique based on the hazards present, but some general responses are as follows.

In the event of a fire or explosion: Sound the alarm, report the fire and get help, and fight the fire only if trained and safely able to do so. With larger fires evacuate the area, stay low, and move to a safe, well-ventilated area.

In the event of a medical emergency: Call for help, do not leave the victim until help arrives, and only provide first aid for which you have been trained. If you have not been trained for any kind of first aid, you can provide basic care. Try to stop any bleeding by covering the victim's wounds and applying pressure, and give chest compressions if the victim is not breathing.

If there is a hazardous material spill or release: Sound the alarm, evacuate the area, locate and don all necessary PPE, barricade and isolate the area, and assist in response, based on your training.

When there is a man overboard: Alert others, maintain visual contact, throw flotation aids and life lines overboard, and assist in rescue as instructed. If it is dark, shine a light on the person.

For a confined space emergency: Alert emergency responders and never leave the entrance unattended. Attempt non-entry rescue only if it is safe to do so, and assist the rescue team once they arrive. Never attempt entry without proper equipment, training, and backup or a rescue team present. 


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

Return to the Workplace Safety Center