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ECO Personnel Selection | Effective Emergency Response

One of the initial steps in selecting the right personnel for the ECO is identifying the key positions that need to be filled. These positions may vary depending on the organization, but they typically include the Emergency Planning Committee (EPC), Chief Warden, Area Wardens, Communication Officer, First Aid Officer, and other relevant roles specific to the organization's needs. Each position carries distinct responsibilities and requires personnel with specific skill sets and competencies.

by Ken

Emergency situations can strike at any time, and it is crucial for organizations in Australia to have a robust Emergency Control Organization (ECO) in place. The ECO plays a vital role in responding to emergencies, managing risks, and ensuring the safety of personnel and the general public. Selecting the right personnel for the ECO is of utmost importance, as their competence and capabilities directly impact the effectiveness of emergency response efforts. In Australia, the selection process for ECO personnel is guided by the Australian Standard 3745:2010. This article will delve into the key aspects of selecting personnel for the ECO and explore the guidelines provided by the Australian Standard 3745:2010.

Understanding the Emergency Control Organisation (ECO)

Before delving into the selection process, it is essential to understand the role and responsibilities of the Emergency Control Organisation. The ECO is responsible for implementing emergency response procedures, coordinating the evacuation of personnel, communicating vital information, and ensuring the safe and efficient management of emergencies. It consists of personnel who are designated specific roles within the organization’s emergency management structure, ensuring that each task is assigned to a competent individual.

Competency Requirements and Selection Criteria

To ensure the selection of competent personnel, the Australian Standard 3745:2010 provides guidelines for identifying the necessary competencies and selection criteria. Competencies encompass a combination of knowledge, skills, and attributes that enable individuals to perform their roles effectively. The selection criteria help organizations assess the suitability of candidates based on these competencies. Some of the key competencies may include:

1. Knowledge of Emergency Response Procedures

Personnel in the ECO must have a thorough understanding of the organization’s emergency response procedures. This includes knowledge of evacuation protocols, emergency communication systems, assembly areas, and other relevant procedures specific to the organization. The selection process should evaluate candidates’ knowledge of these procedures to ensure they can effectively respond during emergencies.

2. Leadership and Decision-Making Skills

Leadership and decision-making skills are crucial for personnel in key positions within the ECO. Chief Wardens, Area Wardens, and other leadership roles need to demonstrate strong leadership capabilities, the ability to remain calm under pressure, and make informed decisions promptly. The selection process should assess candidates’ leadership potential and decision-making abilities to ensure they can effectively lead and coordinate emergency response efforts.

3. Communication Skills

Effective communication is vital during emergencies to relay critical information, instructions, and updates to personnel and relevant stakeholders. Communication Officers and other personnel responsible for disseminating information should possess excellent verbal and written communication skills. The selection process should evaluate candidates’ communication skills, including their ability to remain clear, concise, and calm during stressful situations.

4. First Aid and Emergency Medical Skills

Having personnel with first aid and emergency medical skills is essential to providing immediate assistance to injured individuals during emergencies. First Aid Officers within the ECO should possess relevant certifications and training to administer first aid and perform life-saving techniques when required. The selection process should verify candidates’ qualifications and assess their practical skills in first aid scenarios.

5. Teamwork and Collaboration

The effectiveness of the ECO relies heavily on teamwork and collaboration. Personnel within the ECO must be able to work together cohesively, supporting each other and sharing information and resources. The selection process should evaluate candidates’ ability to work well in a team, their interpersonal skills, and their willingness to collaborate with others.

Selection Process Steps

Once the competencies and selection criteria are established, organizations can follow a systematic process to select the right personnel for the ECO. The steps involved in the selection process may include:

1. Advertising and Applications

Organizations should advertise the available positions within the ECO to attract potential candidates. The job description should outline the key responsibilities, competencies required, and selection criteria. Interested individuals can then submit their applications, including their resumes and any supporting documents.

The screening and shortlisting stage involves reviewing the received applications to identify candidates who meet the minimum requirements and possess the desired competencies. This process may involve assessing qualifications, experience, and relevant certifications.

2. Interviews and Assessments

Shortlisted candidates should be invited for interviews and assessments to evaluate their suitability for the ECO positions. Interviews can be conducted by a panel that includes representatives from relevant departments or external experts. Assessments may include practical exercises, role-playing scenarios, and written tests to assess candidates’ abilities and competencies.

Conducting reference checks is a crucial step to validate the information provided by candidates and gain insights into their previous performance and capabilities. References should include supervisors, colleagues, or other individuals who have worked closely with the candidate in relevant roles.

3. Final Selection and Appointment 

Based on the outcomes of the interviews, assessments, and reference checks, the final selection of personnel for the ECO positions can be made. The selected candidates should be notified of their appointment, and any necessary administrative procedures should be completed.


Selecting the right personnel for the Emergency Control Organisation is a critical process that requires careful consideration of competencies, skills, and attributes. Adhering to the guidelines outlined in the Australian Standard 3745:2010 ensures that the selection process is thorough and aligns with industry best practices. By selecting competent and capable individuals for the ECO positions, organizations in Australia can enhance their emergency response capabilities and safeguard the well-being of their personnel and the public during times of crisis.

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