Do I require evac chairs at my premises?
UK legislation states that all business premises and all public buildings and services must have provisions in place which enable a good chance of a safe emergency evacuation at their premises. This must be in place for everyone, regardless of personal mobility.
Full details can be found in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, all businesses and public services must provide provision for safe exit at all of their premises. This means that you are legally required to ensure all employees, customers and visitors can make a safe escape in an emergency.
What should you consider?
You need to consider that during an emergency situation access is to the lifts is usually restricted for safety reasons. This usually means using the stairs which may be very difficult for anyone with limited mobility to accomplish unaided.
People who suffer from disabilities, which make using stairways difficult, will require additional support and equipment. This is your responsibility to provide specialist escape equipment.
What type of disabilities require help?
Disabilities might not be immediately obvious, such as a wheelchair user is likely to have a health issue. You need to consider mental health issues, restricted movement issues, bariatric people, heavily pregnant women, injured people- to name but a few.
Ask yourself this question …
Do we have any staff, visitors or users of our premises who…
- Need to usee a wheelchair
- Are disabled
- Suffer from mobility-impairment
- Are heavily pregnant
- Take prescribed medication which may have side effects
- Are temporarily incapacitated
- Have an injury
- May be elderly or infirm
- Suffer from any medical conditions
- Suffer from any mental health conditions
- Have had a limb amputated
- Are a bariatric patient
The answer is highly likely to be YES. Now consider how you would get that person to a place of safety during an emergency, especially if the lifts are out-of-action (as they usually are during an emergency building, such as a fire). Now imagine how they would get up or down stairways unaided.
What is a simple solution which will cover you legally?
The Equality Act 2010, states that everyone on-site MUST have the same equal opportunity to move around your premises. This includes wheelchair users. Thankfully, evac chairs are available, and they enable you to keep your business fully inclusive. It is recommended that all chairs are annually serviced to ensure they are in full working order.
What about legislation in the UK?
Our best advice would be to check out the following two documents (mentioned above):
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 gives a “responsible person” a duty in law to provide a safe means of escape to anyone within their premises, this will include anyone who may be less mobile.
The Equality Act 2010 states: “All businesses are required to ensure that their premises are accessible to persons who have mobility impairments.“
Employers will be required to make certain reasonable adjustments to the workplace, where arrangements of physical features of the premises are likely to place a mobility-impaired person at a substantial disadvantage, compared with an able-bodied person.
When an employer or service provider does not make the provisions for safe escape of mobility-impaired persons from its premises, this may be viewed as discrimination. Everybody is entitled to the same chance of a safe escape in an emergency.
Remember it is not the responsibility of the Fire Service to ensure the safe escape of your staff and visitors
Where should evac chairs be located?
Ideally, the equipment should be located in the locality where they are most likely going to be required. Their main aim is to assist people who require help getting up or downstairs to a place of safety in an emergency situation. They need to be clearly identifiable in a visible area in a next to the stairwell that leads to an outside place of safety, ideally the nearest stairwell exit doors. All Evacusafe chairs come with wall hooks to hang the chair on, fitting instructions and hole drilling template. Our chairs also come with a dust cover and a sign to place above the actual exit evacuation chair.
The simple answer is most likely ‘yes’ you do require this equipment in order to comply with the law. However, our team are on-hand to advise you exactly what you need and how many units. Simply call us on 01256 332723 for FREE expert advice. Read about how the equipment works here.