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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some FAQs (frequently asked questions) that EH Systems encounters on a regular basis:

During our day-to-day delivery of Health & Safety services to our clients, EH Systems encounters a number of questions that crop up on a fairly regular basis with regard to evacuation processes and procedures.

We thought it would be a good idea to share just a few of these as follows:

How do the Requirements Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 Affect Mobility Impaired People?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that EVERYONE using a building is provided with adequate means of escape in the event of a fire. This means that provision of a suitable escape plan for mobility-impaired people is a requirement.

A number of people may fit into the category of mobility impaired. For example, those with health issues relating to heart conditions such as angina or breathing conditions such as asthma may affect their ability to evacuate a building in a timely manner or unaided.

Which Group of People are Considered to be Most at Risk in Terms of Evacuation?

A. Wheelchair users are widely regarded as those most at risk in terms of escape. In some cases, a wheelchair user may be able to facilitate an escape independently but no assumptions should be made about the extent of a wheelchair user’s ability and draw false assumptions about their ability to leave the building safely.

Q. What considerations need to be taken into account when devising an escape plan for mobility-impaired people?

When creating a plan for someone who has a mobility impairment or who uses a wheelchair, information such as the following should be determined.

  • The distance needed to travel on specific routes
  • Those routes which have handrails or other aids provided
  • To what extent a person could walk aided/unaided downstairs and whether this could be increased if assistance was available?
  • In what ways might any mobility be worsened, e.g. by obstacles, etc.
  • Whether evacuation chairs are available
  • The opportunity to use lifts.

What is the difference between Evacuation Chairs?

There are basically 3 different types of chairs.

  • Motorized units which as it suggests are aided by battery-powered motors to lift the individual or the person in their wheelchair up and down the stairs.
  • Tracked Chairs are the most commonly used. These take a single individual down the stairs aided by a friction-controlled track.
  • Ambulance / Transit Chairs which manually carry somebody sat in the chair, up or down the stairs.

The main differences

In terms of cost, motorized Chairs are much more expensive, but in certain circumstances (say where an individual cannot transfer out of their wheelchair) these may be the only means of escape. Transit Chairs are the cheapest option, but there will usually be a requirement to have 2-3 people on hand to lift the chair (again depending on the size of the person)

Tracked Chairs provide the most cost-effective option. Bearing in mind the vast majority of building evacuations usually entail going down the stairs, then this type of chair will provide the best option in most cases. Also, they require a single operator to use (although having a buddy is always a good idea) and are easy to store and transport.

What Exactly is a PEEP?

A PEEP stands for Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan. PEEPs are usually drawn up where a person or persons may have difficulty evacuating a building without assistance.

The purpose of a PEEP is to provide clear, tailored guidelines to meet the specific needs of an individual in the event of an emergency along with actions that need to be taken and support provided.

Development of a PEEP should be undertaken by the PEEP owner who is frequently the ‘building controller’.

What Type of Information is Included in a PEEP?

When developing evacuation plans for disabled people, the following information is typical of what should be recorded:

  • The nature and extent of an individual’s disabilities
  • The different types (and extent) of risk in any area that might be visited by an individual
  • All appropriate evacuation procedures and arrangements
  • The assistance provided during an evacuation
  • A schedule for the maintenance, training and testing of equipment (including evacuation chairs)
  • A record of consultations and communications.

This information is not, nor is it intended to be exhaustive. It’s intended as a guide only and does not constitute authoritative advice.

If you have a specific question that isn’t featured here or how an aspect of the law applies to your business, contact EH Systems today to discuss your requirements.

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