If you’re currently reviewing your fire evacuation strategy for your building premises, you’re in the right place. This article covers the importance of conducting proper Evacuation Strategies and, in particular, the need for bespoke plans in specialty buildings.
Have you ever been to a conference, workshop, or other workplace event, where the first thing the speaker says is where the fire exits are and where to assemble if the alarm sounds? It’s more than a mere obligation - a fire evacuation strategy needs to be in place to keep people safe.
The FireRite team are experienced in creating fire evacuation strategies for a comprehensive range of different public buildings and business premises, including:
- Residential buildings
- Care homes
- Office buildings
Our team has extensive, in-depth knowledge of delivering a range of fire safety consultancy services to businesses and buildings of all sizes. We work across South Wales, the South West and the Midlands with the aim to help you reduce the risk of fire, stay informed, and making your communities and workplaces safer.
FireRite ensures and offers a cost-effective, professional service that will meet the current legislative requirements. We go further than simply drafting an evacuation strategy, we can support your business with its supportive elements, such as staff training and effective implementation.
During our evacuation strategy consultancy, FireRite defines and details the premises fire evacuation procedure and supporting elements e.g. staff training.
Why do you need a Fire Evacuation Plan?
The short answer is it saves people’s lives.
Many people simple do not know what to do during an emergency, so having a clear evacuation strategy means that people are more prepared.
In the event of a fire or other emergency, your evacuation strategy helps you gain some control of the situation. It also helps you and the emergency services get an accurate account of everyone who should have left the building and who may still be inside.
Having a plan in place is also important for compliance with UK Fire Safety Legislation.
What are PEEPs (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans)?
A fire evacuation strategy should include every occupant of the building, including people with disabilities.
In the event a of a fire, standard routes in or out of the building may be blocked which could mean a step-free entrance has become inaccessible. Or, you may need specialist equipment such as an evacuation chair readily available and in good working order. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan in place, so you have procedures in place and everything you need for a successful evacuation with minimal risks.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places a legal duty on those with ‘responsibility’ over the management and operation of premises to provide adequate means for emergency escape in the event of fire for all building occupants.
Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) ask us to think how an individual’s mobility issues could impact on their ability to escape in an emergency.
Impairments that require a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan include:
- Mobility impairments
- Sensory impairments
- Cognitive impairments or learning difficulties
- Temporary illnesses or injuries that would cause someone to need help during an evacuation
It’s important to remember that each individual person has different needs. Therefore, it’s a good idea to formulate the plan in collaboration with the person in question (for example, the member of staff with a disability).
Reviewing and Updating your Fire Evacuation Strategy
A Fire Evacuation Strategy is a key component of your organisation’s overall Fire Risk Management Strategy. Your fire risk management strategy document should be reviewed at regular, planned intervals. It should also be updated if there are significant changes to your organisation, its staffing structure, or its premises.
Your organisation’s Senior Management Team should ensure that the periodic review of the Fire Risk Management system includes an audit of the Fire Evacuation Strategy. This is to ensure its continued suitability, effectiveness, and alignment with the rest of the strategy.
Bespoke Solutions for Fire Evacuation Plans
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to drafting fire evacuation plans because, by their very nature, people and buildings are all extremely different and have unique needs.
Your fire evacuation plan should consider these variations in a meaningful way to identify a workable, safe and compliant solution. This means fully analysing the building itself as well as the profile of its occupants.
Take care homes as an example…
We’ve worked closely with care homes and sheltered housing schemes to provide bespoke fire protection services, including drafting and implementing fire evacuation strategies.
The FireRite team draft plans that consider the detailed relationship between the occupants’ dependency profile and the level of fire safety provision within the building. This includes any passive and active fire prevention measures present, the level of compartmentation in protected areas, and the coverage and category of automatic fire detection/alarm systems.
An evacuation strategy should not exist within a silo, it’s part of a wider fire risk management strategy and should fully recognise the unique qualities of your premises and its people.
To support the drafting of your evacuation strategy, our team of experienced trainers deliver a range of fire training courses for all settings. We recognise that the actions of staff are crucial to successful evacuations in the event of an emergency.
Alongside this, FireRite also offer the provision of evacuation equipment, including a range of various apparatus to help you safely evacuate people in an emergency.
This includes if the buildings alternative escape route has steps or flights of stairs as it may be necessary to use evacuation aids, such as:
- Moving & handling equipment
- Mobility aids
- Evacuation chairs, mats or slings
We can also provide specific advice on the many products that are designed to assist carers in the safe evacuation of disabled or elderly patients from care homes, nursing homes and hospitals.
Properly devised evacuation strategies are key to ensuring building occupants and responsible persons feel confident and prepared on how to exit a building safely in the event of an emergency. When executed properly, they save lives.
FireRite’s advice and guidance can help you reduce the fire risk in your buildings and communities, making the people living and working within them safer.
If you need support with your fire evacuation strategy, or any other aspect of fire safety within your building, business, or premises, we’re here to help. Get in touch with us today to discuss your organisation’s requirements.