Evacuating Disabled People
November 27th, 2014
Fire drills should be undertaken at least annually, more frequently where there are staff / occupancy changes. Six monthly fire drills are recommended. Extra procedures need to be in place for evacuating disabled people.
EVACUATION OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
A sufficient number of volunteer helpers should be trained in the use of specialised equipment for this purpose, e.g. ‘evacuation chairs’ or how to carry people down the stairs safely.
Purpose designed evacuation lifts are suitable for use by disabled persons in the event of fire. However, where a lift does not meet this criteria, disabled persons should be assisted from upper floors to a place of safety outside by trained personnel, via the protected stairways.
It is normal practice where disabled people work on upper floors of buildings, to provide a safe ‘refuge’ within a fire protected area. Such areas should be clearly marked and allow sufficient space for wheelchair users to await assistance, whilst maintaining unhindered egress for the able-bodied. In order to avoid congestion on the staircase, disabled persons should be assisted or guided out of the premises by their helpers after the main ‘body’ of occupants has passed.
Without exception, disabled members of staff should take part in fire drills.