Plan to get everybody, including customers with disabilities and staff with disabilities, to safety if there is an emergency. Review and improve your:
- Emergency procedures
- Emergency equipment
- Visual and auditory alarms
- Safety zones
Regularly review your evacuation procedures and safety statement.
Make fire procedure instructions available to all staff and visitors. Make sure that those instruction are in formats and a language that each person can understand. Those instructions should include:
- Fire escape signs
- Location of signs
- Fire point identification
- Statutory fire and first aid signs
- Signs indicating escape routes for people with disabilities.
Make sure you have an emergency evacuation plan recorded in your Safety Statement.
Personal Emergency Egress Plans
Provide Personal Emergency Egress Plans (PEEP) for staff and regular visitors as necessary. Use the PEEP template from the National Disability Authority’s Safe Evacuation for All publication. Review the PEEPs every 6 months and whenever there is a relevant change in the building, service, or evacuation plan.
Carry out evacuation drills at least twice a year, and include everybody in the drills. Identify any potential problems, prioritise them, and plan to solve them.
Make sure that all ground floor exit routes are accessible and that the area outside the exit is accessible too.
Provide both visual and auditory alarms in the building.
Provide and maintain emergency equipment as necessary.
Place emergency equipment no more than 1200mm above floor level. This includes:
- Fire blankets
- Break-glass alarm points
- Communication equipment
- Fire extinguishers (heavier types should have their base no more than 650mm above the floor).
Inspect all emergency equipment regularly.
Make sure that all fire signs are maintained and comply with international standards
Lifts, evacuation chairs, and safety zones
For each lift in your building, clearly indicate whether people can use it in emergency situations.Don’t assume that using a lift in an emergency is not an option; get an expert to help you to assess all of the options that would be available to people with disabilities in an emergency, including using lifts.
Provide evacuation chairs and appropriate training for staff. Remember that some people with disabilities cannot use evacuation chairs and will need another option.
If there are refuge areas in your building, clearly indicate them. Get an expert to help you to assess which areas, if any, can be used as refuge areas. Make sure that each safety zone has:
- A two-way communication system that people with different disabilities can use, to talk to a management control point
- Very clear identification, so that somebody who is in the refuge area can tell others exactly where they are.
- Relevant staff on how to safely transport people with mobililty difficulties
- The Health and Safety officer, as appropriate
- A number of staff in Occupational First Aid.
Top tips for planning safe evacuation for all customers and staff
- Provide Personal Emergency Egress Plans (PEEP) for staff and regular visitors as necessary.
- Carry out evacuation drills at least twice a year.
- For each lift in your building, clearly indicate whether people can use it in emergency situations.
- Remember that some people with disabilities cannot use evacuation chairs and will need another option.