Current legislation demands that employers and service providers have sufficient emergency procedures in place. Anyone allowed into a building must be able to evacuate safely without depending on the fire brigade. This is especially relevant where there is a lift and people with mobility impairments are present.
Increased awareness of these requirements has led to the use of a range of evacuation equipment, including evacuation chairs. Unfortunately, we often come across buildings where there is no equipment. In others, steps are not taken to meet legal obligations. There can be a lack of or no suitably trained operators, and maintenance is not always carried out. As a result, the organisation/responsible persons are in a vulnerable position. They risk non-compliance, prosecution and put lives in danger.
All buildings should have precautions in place. Sufficient fire risk assessments should be carried out and emergency procedures, including personal or generic emergency evacuation plans (PEEPs/GEEPs), should be drawn up. In addition to this, evacuation equipment should be in place and routinely maintained. Most importantly, there should be a sufficient number of suitably trained personnel to assist with the evacuation.
Whilst there is always guidance and information about evacuation equipment available - the type, quantity and location should be your decision as a result of your risk assessment and professional advice, not an overzealous salesman.
We have helped many clients save thousands of pounds while ensuring they maintain compliance. One example is a University with 330 operational buildings. Previously they had evacuation chairs in every building with a lift on virtually every staircase. Due to the age of the chairs, the University was seeking options for replacements. We performed a free audit and working with various University stakeholders we reduced the number of chairs to a fraction of what was already in place. In addition to the savings on equipment a compliance package was included to cover supply, installation, certificated evacuation chair training, refresher training and evacuation chair maintenance.