Preventing fatalities during an emergency begins with regular and effective communication to all occupants of a building – employees and visitors. The Equality Act 2010 reiterates key elements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 by specifying that employers take responsibility for ensuring that all people, including those with mobility problems, can evacuate a building safely in the event of a fire.
Planning for an emergency is not about box ticking, it is about preparation for an event that could become reality, requiring employers to take a consistent approach to emergency evacuation planning. Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) become redundant if the individuals concerned are not regularly engaged, in order to ensure the procedures laid out become second nature. To better enable this, we facilitate training for ‘key trainers’ on Evac+Chair emergency evacuation chairs – these ‘key trainers’ can then train other staff, thereby creating a robust network of knowledge and support.
As well as increasing familiarity with the process, holding regular fire drills for all occupants gives employers the opportunity to identify individuals with mobility issues, for example, a pregnant woman or someone with a sports injury who may require assistance in the event of a fire, or equipment such as an Evac+Chair, which helps them make the descent down stairways quickly and safely.
Taking a personalised approach is therefore important, especially with mobility impaired members of staff, who should be given regular one-to-one guidance in order to ensure they are as familiar with the course of action as possible.
Communication is the bedrock of a successful evacuation but without a pro-active and regular approach to this well before an emergency, lives will inevitably be put in danger.