Managing an evacuation

In the event of an evacuation, the Person in Control (PiC) must co-ordinate the response to the incident.

You will be busy! So to ensure that nothing is neglected you should grab four competent people and assign each of them to an area of responsibility below. Write down their names and mobile numbers. You should then get together every 20 minutes to review and record progress.

Reach out to CPC who are there to help you. They have significant experience in handling all types of incidents. 


If resources allow assign support to manage each of the activities listed:

1. Look after your people

2. Assess the impact

3. Communications

4. Assist emergency services


1. Look after your people (and don’t forget to look after yourself!)

Ensure the safety and welfare of your people.

Ensure you operate from a safe location, be aware of stress, ensure you have the support and resources you need and be aware of time pressures.


Record the basic incident details

This should include:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Location (mark on site plan if easier)
  • How was the incident brought to your attention?
  • Brief description of incident
Confirm with fire wardens that the building is clear

The Fire and Rescue Service will want to know if you believe the building to be clear. (They will not put their people at risk if the building is empty)

Talk to each of the fire wardens and record:

  • their name
  • the area of the building they are responsible for
  • if they believe their area to be clear

Check off the pre-prepared zones on the site plan if easier.

Arrange roll calls

It is very difficult to account for everyone via a roll call (not everyone signs in, people go to different evacuation points, etc.) but you must attempt to account for everyone.

  • Ensure you have a fire warden or appoint a person at each evacuation point.
  • At each evacuation point, record the names of visitors or contractors present.
  • Return the list to the Person in Control (PiC) to match names with visitors’ book.
  • Ask work area managers to try to account for their people.
  • Write down the names of anyone they cannot account for and pass to the PiC.
Record details of any missing persons

Record details of any missing person, including:

  • their name
  • last known location
Record details of any casualties

Record the details of any people taken away for treatment, including:

  • Name of individual
  • Taken to (name of hospital, GP surgery, etc.)
  • By? (ambulance, colleague, etc.)
Anticipate the needs of any people still on site

Consider what the needs of any people still onsite may be, and take action to meet these needs. These may include:

  • Information
  • Food/water
  • Shelter
  • Toilets
  • Keys
  • Cash
  • Communication with family
  • Trauma counselling
  • Transport home
  • Other

2. Assess the impact

Assess the impact on the building
  • Identify which areas of the building/site are impacted.
  • Assess if the situation/damage get worse.
  • Prepare a list of the damage or mark the areas on a plan.
  • Pass the information to CPC and arrange for Property services to conduct a detailed damage report.
  • Arrange to barrier off any areas which are not safe to approach.
  • Inform site staff of the areas which are out of bounds.
  • Coordinate a detailed survey through CPC/Property services
Assess the impact on the operation
  • Assess the immediate impact to operations.
  • Consider damage to sorting equipment, IT services, vehicles, infrastructure etc.
  • Is access to the site compromised?
  • Can existing work be reassigned on site or will the business continuity plan need to be implemented?
  • Could the situation lead to an extended period of operational disruption, has it significantly impacted the current work plan and could it affect the next shift?
  • If support is required to redirect operations or repair the damage ask CPC to coordinate and/or inform the SDL
Assess the impact on the operation
  • Is there potential for liquid spillage or for smoke?
  • Could there be damage to the environment offsite?
  • Is there fuel loss which may enter the drains?
  • Is there water runoff to drains or local water courses?
  • Inform CPC if any of the above points could apply and/or if neighbouring sites could be affected.

3. Communications

Keep people informed about what is happening

Ensure information is shared within the business

eEnsure that information is shared in a timely manner with Central Postal Control (CPC), Ops Control (if you work for PFW), your line manager, Group Property & Facilities Solutions Helpdesk and any other relevant business units.

Make a record of:

  • contact name
  • time called
  • name of contact
  • advice given / action promised

Request local H&S Representative to help brief on-site personnel.


Refer any media enquiries to the Royal Mail Press Office

If you are approached by the media refer them to the Royal Mail Press Office (24×7) on 020 7250 2468.

4. Assist emergency services

Keep people informed about what is happening

Liaise with Emergency Services (if applicable)

Make a record of:

  • what services required (police, fire, ambulance)
  • time called
  • time arrived
  • name of the senior officer

Note: The Emergency Services may want to know the location of your gas/electricity isolation points, etc. These should be listed in your unit plan and marked on your site/building layout plan.

Interface with external agencies and specialists that arrive on site

During an incident, access to site should be controlled. If people with a right of access (eg. contractors and regulatory personnel such as environment agency and H&S executives) arrive on site:

• Brief them upon arrival; 

• Arrange for them to be accompanied; and

• Inform CPC of their arrival.


If in doubt at any stage always call Central Postal Control (CPC)

Central Postal Control deals with issues on a regular basis and will be able to talk you through how to deal with any situation.