The introduction of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that employers or organisations providing services to the public, take responsibility for all people, including disabled people evacuating buildings safely.
Also, The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, place duties on you to implement effective arrangements for access and emergency evacuation for employees and visitors.
It is therefore essential to identify the needs of disabled people and where necessary, to make proper arrangements for their assistance in the event of an emergency evacuation.
The following issues need to be considered when planning an evacuation procedure for disabled people:
- Identify the number of disabled employees and visitors and where they will be in the premises
- Implement Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEP’s)
- The evacuation plan should not rely upon the intervention of the Fire and Rescue Services to make it work.
- Assess the evacuation equipment disabled people will need
- Train your employees to deal with emergency evacuations
- Determine what needs to happen when the alarm goes off
- Identify what needs to be done when it is not possible to evacuate disabled people
PERSONAL EMERGENCY EVACUATION PLAN (PEEP’s)
- The purpose of a PEEP is firstly to secure the safety of the named individual in the event of a building evacuation.
- The PEEP will also record the safety plan e.g. routes, corridors, stairs or refuges etc.
- Identify those persons who will assist carrying out the evacuation and the training needs required e.g. evacuation chair, emergency exit routes etc.
- Considerations should be given to the location of the disabled person and ideally, they should be located as near to the ground floor as possible for quick evacuation.
- The plan must be tailor made to meet the requirements of the individual, so it must be drawn up in consultation and with the active participation of the person concerned.
- A practice evacuation drill should be carried out at least once a year to monitor the effectiveness of the PEEP.
- A PEEP should be activated immediately the alarm is raised.
- If it is safe to do so wheelchairs, guide dogs and other ‘equipment’ must be evacuated as well as the disabled person.
Lifts are normally prohibited from use during an emergency evacuation. There are types of lifts known as evacuation lifts, which may be used for the evacuation of disabled people.
Refuges areas provide a place of relative safety for disabled people before being assisted to a final exit.
•Refuge areas can be an enclosure such as a compartment, lobby, corridor or stairway that can provide protection from fire and smoke.
- It is essential that the location of a refuge does not have any adverse effect on the means of escape.
- Once a refuge area has been identified it should be suitably signed and kept free from obstructions.
- It is essential that all refuge areas have effective communication links to enable communication with any person/s using the refuge in an emergency.
- People should never be left alone in a refuge point to wait for the Fire and Rescue Services.
EMERGENCY EVACUATION ASSESSMENT FORMS
This link will take you to a form, so that you may establish any particular needs a relevant person may have to enable them to safely evacuate the building.