Legal requirements around emergency evacuation

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As a person responsible for an organization or public space, the following overview should be familiar to you, and cover all the elements you already have in place. Since the regulations and laws state the importance of evacuating all people who may be in your building, it’s essential your staff members are fully trained and your personal evacuation procedures are up-to-date.

Please note, the following is just a high level guide to help you get started, on what is typically a large subject. If you have any specific questions, or would like to know more about anything in particular, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts.

Safety training

In addition to regular fire safety training, staff members are also required to undergo disability escape etiquette training. Normally, the responsibility to provide this falls to the human resources department of most organisations, as they typically have day-to-day responsibility for all staff.

Your human resources department will also know of any changes in the mobility of your staff members. Remember, when we mention disabled people, this also includes able-bodied people who have temporary changes in mobility – for example, those with a broken ankle or leg.

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs)*

Where there are regular visitors to a building who have special needs, this information is set out in a PEEP. This plan must be tailored to the individual and provide detailed information on how the individual can safely leave the building during an emergency. It is also possible that some level of building adaptations are necessary to facilitate proper escape.

Standard PEEPs are to be devised for occasional visitors. These plans need to outline how disabled people move through a building and what types of escape routes are possible for them.

Key regulations

Disability Equality Duty (DED) from December 2006

Public bodies have an additional duty, known as the DED, to proactively promote the equality of disabled people. It is essential that organizations in charge of public spaces must have evacuation plans in place for disabled people.

Key legislation

Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 and the Equality Act 2010

Both pieces of legislation work in concert to ensure employers or organizations providing services to the public take responsibility for ensuring that all people, including disabled people, can safely leave a building in the event of a fire and other emergencies.

* For more information on what to consider when creating Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans, refer to the Fire safety risk assessment: means of escape for disabled people guide, created by the UK Government

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