Housing Association staff trained for safe evacuation

Housing Association staff trained for safe evacuation

A major housing association in the North West of England is set to install more than 60 specialist evacuation chairs across 30 of its complexes to assist disabled and mobility- impaired residents in negotiating staircases in an emergency.

Harvest Housing Group provides over 18,000 affordable homes to people in the region, many of whom suffer from physical disabilities. After reviewing its health and safety policies, the group which employs over 700 members of staff, identified the need to provide additional assistance for mobility-impaired residents, visitors and staff.

To ensure optimal safety conditions within the housing communities, employees have recently undertaken a full day of training with Evac+Chair training specialists. The ‘Key Trainer Master Class®’ programme provides comprehensive training on how to assist someone in using the equipment in an urgent situation and, in accordance with Evac+Chair’s approved code of practice, enables trained staff to instruct other colleagues in a flexible and cost-effective way.

Ruth Turner from Harvest Housing Group, said: “This type of staff training is an essential part of risk management, especially as many of the residents have special requirements and are mobility impaired. It is extremely reassuring to know that our staff are fully trained in using the Evac+Chair should an emergency situation arise.”

A recent survey by Evac+Chair International revealed that in the current economic climate many companies no longer have the trained employee responsible for health and safety equipment, including an evacuation chair. Whilst the majority of these companies (73 percent) have transferred this responsibility, 40 percent of the companies surveyed had not yet been trained in using this equipment.

Mark Wallace, Managing Director at Evac+Chair International, comments:
“It is vital that companies are aware of the importance of appropriate staff training when purchasing health and safety equipment. Although buying a product such as an evacuation chair ensures that they are complying with certain legislation, it does not necessarily mean it will serve its purpose in the event of an emergency, unless staff are fully trained in using it.

“Our Key Trainer Master Class® is a cost-effective way of training a large number of staff. Once trained, a small group of staff members can pass on their learning to other employees, ensuring that many people within the company are suitably equipped with the knowledge and skills to potentially save lives.”


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