The introduction of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that employers or organisations must take responsibility for evacuating all people safely from their premises.
This means carrying out a fire safety risk assessment that incorporates an emergency evacuation plan for all people likely to be on the premises, including disabled people, children and lone workers. When an employer or service provider fails to make provision for the safe evacuation of disabled people from its premises, this may be viewed as discrimination.
A fire evacuation plan should be drawn up for everyone in the building. The fire evacuation plan is specific to the building and different buildings, depending on their use, will have different systems of evacuation.
A fire evacuation plan should be drawn up for the building, to make sure everyone can be quickly and safely evacuated. In most cases this will mean to a place of ultimate safety outside the building however, in a hospital or other care setting such as a nursing home a system of progressive horizontal evacuation may be used to progressively move patients or residents away from the fire, through fire doors into adjoining protected areas. This system of evacuation keeps vulnerable people inside for as long as possible, with evacuation to the open air as a last resort.
In no circumstances should the evacuation plan rely upon the intervention of the Fire and Rescue Service to make it work.
In the case of a fire, evacuation aids reliant on mains electricity, such as lifts or stair lifts, should not be used. If the buildings alternative escape route has steps or flights of stairs then it may be necessary to use evacuation aids such as an evacuation chair, evacuation mat or evacuation sling.
Evacuation chairs, sometimes called stairchairs, are used for the safe evacuation of mobility impaired people along corridors, or down stairs. They look like a deckchair with skis and wheels underneath. They glide down stairs on the skis and use the wheels to move along flat surfaces such as corridors. Evacuation chairs are operated by one or two people. They should not be used by anyone who has not received proper training.
Evacuation mats and evacuation Ski Sheets can be used for people with mobility impairments and people who are bed bound. They look like a thin mattress and the person being evacuated is securely strapped in and slid to safety. They require training and regular practice to use safely.
Preparation and training
We can provide support to help you carry out a fire risk assessment and create emergency evacuation plans. We also offer training on the safe use of evacuation equipment.