If fire breaks out, and you have disabled people in your building, would you know how to react? It’s not acceptable to prevent disabled people from accessing your premises to avoid the problem altogether. And it’s not something you can leave to the emergency services to sort out when they arrive.
The responsible person, for example, the business owner or building manager, is legally required to ensure the safe escape of any disabled people during an emergency. Read on below to find out more about what the law says on this subject.
Do you have a fire evacuation plan?
Formulating an appropriate escape plan starts with your Fire Risk Assessment. This document will clarify what you’re expected to provide and make some recommendations on how to achieve it. We can help you with the Fire Risk Assessment. What’s more, we can help you put your plans in place. Evacuation equipment, such as evacuation chairs and rescue sheets will be needed. They are both safe and cost-effective ways of ensuring efficient evacuation of mobility-impaired people from buildings, on both upper and lower levels.
At Fire Safety Services, we are your complete one stop shop for fire safety. Along with our other services, we can supply evacuation chairs and rescue sheets directly to you. We also offer service and maintenance contracts to guarantee and prolong the life of your equipment. And should you require training, we run courses on how to use this specialist equipment during an emergency. We always recommend this to customers who are new to evacuation procedures and equipment; it pays to be prepared during stressful situations.
Need some help?
If you would like to find out more about evacuation chairs and how Fire Safety Services can help you and your business, call our sales team on 08000 234114 or complete the form for a call back:
Evacuation Chairs Enquiry
Are you legally compliant in ensuring that you can safely evacuate anyone from your building?
As mentioned above, the ‘responsible person’ has a legal duty to provide a safe means of escape to anyone – not just disabled people – from their premises. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is the current UK legislation for most areas of fire safety and it clearly states what is required. You should also consider that ignoring this duty puts you in breach of the Equality Act 2010 which states that, “All businesses are required to ensure that their premises are accessible to persons who have mobility impairments.” If you’re an employer, this means that you must make any adjustments deemed reasonable so that mobility-impaired people are not at a substantial disadvantage to able bodied people. A simple example of this is providing access to upper floors of buildings via ramps or lifts, but it will also include evacuation during a fire or other emergency. The Equality Act is clear that if you do not take the needs of ALL groups of people into consideration, you may be in breach of the legislation and vulnerable to claims of discrimination.
Who you do you need to consider making alternative evacuation arrangements in the event of an emergency?
To stay on top of both sets of legislation, as outlined above, we recommend you think about key groups of ‘vulnerable’ people who may use your premises. Remember these could be staff, visitors, customers or any type of user who are/have:
- In a wheelchair
- On medication
- Temporarily incapacitated or injured
- Elderly or infirm
- Medical conditions
Anyone in these groups may require additional assistance during an evacuation and your job now is to ensure that you can safely get them out of your premises. Unless you know with certainty that this is something you’ve addressed, we recommend you consider evacuation planning. Fire Safety Services can assist you with your forward planning and guaranteeing compliance by providing:
- A full site survey with our experienced staff
- High quality evacuation equipment
- Approved certificated training
- Expert equipment servicing
Find out more below about our equipment, servicing and training product range.
The evacuation chair is highly regarded as the safest and most efficient way of evacuating disabled and other vulnerable groups out of buildings. We supply two styles of chair: the Standard and the Excel.
Both chairs have been designed for complete ease of use on all flat surfaces and virtually all kinds of staircases and fire escapes, whether internal or external, with or without carpets. They can be operated simply and without fuss by one person. However, if you have complicated exits due to the nature of your building, e.g. spiral staircases, you should consider booking a staff training session.
So, which chair should you choose? Let’s look at the similarities and differences between the two models.
The Standard is a great ‘entry-level’ chair. With a slightly lower load-bearing weight limit than the Excel, its competitive price point means it’s an obvious choice for those with limited budgets who still appreciate high quality.
Both chairs operate on tracks which create friction and act as a brake. As you move the chair downwards, this system allows for a safe, controlled descent. And once you’re on flat ground, the handles can be folded away and the chairs used as temporary wheelchairs.
Lightweight yet incredibly strong, the chairs fold flat and handily, can be stored on a wall. Hooks are supplied as is an ‘Evacuation Chair’ wall sign. What’s more, we also include a tough, durable cover to help keep your chair in pristine condition.
|Four wheels with safety brake||√||√|
|Flat seat||√||√ (extra wide)|
|Padded head rest||√||√|
|Arm and foot rests||√||√|
|Weight bearing arm rests||X||√|
|Lap safety belt||√||x|
|3-point support harness||x||√|
|Ant-slip operator handles||√||√|
|Integrated carry handles to lift over obstacles||x||√|
|Extra leg safety strap||x||√|
|Folds flat for easy storage||√||√|
|Requires minimal wall space for storage||√||√|
|Height (folded/open)||1120mm / 1460mm||1130mm / 1320mm|
|Depth (folded/open)||150mm / 700mm (max)||290mm / 990mm (max)|
|Length in use||1460mm||1430mm|
Rescue sheets have traditionally been used in hospitals and care homes. Affixed to the underside of a mattress, patients are slid onto them from their beds during an evacuation.
Our rescue sheets are a more modern version. They are quick to deploy and surprisingly simple to use and can be used as an alternative to the evacuation chair. If you are transporting people who must be kept flat, rescue sheets are more suitable than chairs. And restricted spaces such as narrow corridors, fire escapes and stairwells can make evacuation using the chair all extremely challenging. In these conditions, we recommend you consider using rescue sheets instead.
Like our evacuation chair, our rescue sheets are available in two models: the Standard and the Premium Adjustable which offer different levels of comfort and flexibility.
The chart below lets you see at a glance the key differences between the two models. The Premium Adjustable provides added comfort and is fully adjustable and flexible, making it ideal for different user groups from small children up to large adults.
|Length (folded/open)||600mm / 1900mm||750mm / 1950mm|
|Hard wearing, heavy duty base||√||√|
|Quick release belts||√||√|
|Adjustable quick release belt||x||√|
|Foot pocket – fixed||√||x|
|Foot pocket – adjustable||x||√|
|Side carry handles||x||√|
|Cushioned head and neck support||x||√|
|Adjustable head and neck support||x||√|
Evacuation Chair Servicing
Evacuation plan written? Check. Evacuation equipment on site? Check. What’s next?
Did you know that the Provision of Work and Equipment Regulations state that you must ensure that any equipment used by employees is maintained regularly to keep it in efficient working order and good repair?
If you haven’t thought this far ahead, don’t worry. Our expertise in delivering service and maintenance contracts for hundreds of customers around the UK can help you meet all legal requirements.
Our experienced and qualified technicians will make sure that all your evacuation equipment is kept in optimum condition. This means that in the event of an emergency, you can be sure it’s ready to use and won’t malfunction.
On top of our maintenance work, we service your equipment at regular intervals to comply with relevant regulations. And after our technicians have visited, we will issue a fully comprehensive report or certification for your product records.
Maintenance is often overlooked and treated as a job which can wait until next week, next month, next year. It’s only when disaster strikes that we wish we hadn’t delayed.
Don’t let this be you. If you’re not sure about when your equipment needs servicing, just ask. Our contracts are all bespoke so they take into account how your equipment will be used and set out a service and maintenance schedule that works for you.
To book a service visit, simply call us on 08000 234114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Investing time and money in adopting the correct procedures and purchasing the right equipment can be wasted if your employees aren’t sure how to act in an emergency.
Our on-site courses are designed to help you and your employees feel confident and prepared, should fire break out, and you are compelled to use an evacuation chair or other product.
All our courses are fully-certified and can be tailored for you depending on:
- The size of your business premises
- The number of employees who need training
- The equipment you have on site which you’ll need to be able to operate
We will ensure that, at the end of the training session, all delegates walk away with practical, hands-on experience of operating your evacuation equipment. They will also practice a real-life evacuation giving them the opportunity to ask specific questions and educate themselves in a way that’s accessible to them.
What’s invaluable about our training sessions is that they give you total peace of mind. In the event of a fire or other emergency, you’d be capable of safely evacuating any mobility impaired or other vulnerable people on your premises at the time.
These courses are known as Basic Operator training courses, but you may be interested to know that we also run key trainer courses. Commonly known as ‘train the trainer’ courses, they give you the freedom and flexibility to run your own staff training courses in the future. If you have a large workforce or run a business with a naturally high turnover of staff, this is something we’d recommend you consider.
Not sure if you need training? Give us a call and we’ll be happy to have a chat about the courses and about your business. We can advise what level of training would be most suitable and design something that fits with your budget.
Feeling more informed about evacuations?
We hope so. It’s worth taking the time to educate yourself and your employees about what’s involved. Not least because of the legal implications if you don’t.
If there’s anything we haven’t addressed on this page, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you. And if you’d like a quote, we can also help with that.
Please call us on 08000 234114 and ask to speak to one of the Fire Safety Services Advisors.
More about Evacuation Chairs on our blog
Our blog is designed to give you a greater understanding about fire safety and how our services can help you. All of our blog posts are written by members of our team who have vast experience in specific aspects of fire safety, so you can be sure that the information you are reading comes from a qualified source.
For posts specifically about evacuation chairs – click here
Need further information or would like to speak to one of our sales department?
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Covering: West Midlands, South West, North West & Scotland