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Georgina

Evacuation Chairs

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Hi,

 

I have been advised by our fire risk assessor to provide evacuation chairs at out stair landings. At present, we do not have any persons who will need to use these chairs and are able to evacuate safely on their own. We have procedures in place for staff and students in the event they cannot evacuate i.e. injury, pregnant, etc, which are assessor is happy with. However, their concern is for when visitors are in our building. We have three floors and lifts are available for persons to reach the upper floors. Evacuation chairs are expensive and we have not budgeted for these chairs and will not be able to assign money until the new tax year. Our assessor will not provide any alternative advice and is insistent we provide these chairs in the event they are needed. Can anyone provide any alternative solutions?

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Without seeing the premises and finding out a lot more specific information I can't give you specifics, however there are many potential options, too many people fixate on Evacuation Chairs which are not always the most appropriate answer.

You would also have to budget for staff training and maintenance, you can't just buy them and stick them on the wall, it's quite a big job to correctly implement the use of mobility aids.

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Hi Anthony. Thank you for your reply. Yes, our assessor is insistent that we have evacuation chairs available for use by any visitors. We have a main circulation stair / central stair which is open. You can see this stair when you enter the main reception / lobby area and is a central focus of the school. This staircase takes you to all floors, we have three floors (including ground). We have split our school into three parts; central, left & right. The left and right wing have an enclosed staircase each. These take you down all floors exiting to the rear of our school - school field. The central staircase would lead you back to the reception, to the front of the school.

Our science department also have access to an external staircase which leads them to the side of the building, where they would made their way to the school fields (assembly point). 

What other options could we consider or take back to our assessor? I know it if very difficult to answer as you have not seen our school however, I am wondering if we provide alternatives, he may see that evacuation chairs aren't the only answer.

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You are, of course, not obliged to follow a particular assessors advice and can seek alternative advice as the legislation is functional and not specific to a particular solution.

In addition to chairs there are evacuation mats, managed use of lifts, delayed self evacuation and many more options depending on the individuals needs.

You don't mention a lift - do you have one?

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This subject is very topical in my workplace. Essentially if you afford someone access to your premises, you have a duty to consider their egress. In my opinion, the assessor is being too specific and is verging onto territory that is the preserve of the building managers. However, if there are people above the ground floor that have impaired mobility, and you have facilitated their access, you should also take reasonable measures to ensure that they are safe in the event of a fire or other emergency that would require a full evacuation. Just my observations, but I hope you reach a successful conclusion.

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On 28/08/2019 at 19:50, AnthonyB said:

You are, of course, not obliged to follow a particular assessors advice and can seek alternative advice as the legislation is functional and not specific to a particular solution.

In addition to chairs there are evacuation mats, managed use of lifts, delayed self evacuation and many more options depending on the individuals needs.

You don't mention a lift - do you have one?

Yes, we have a lift. At this moment, we do not have any persons who require assistance in evacuating. But that does not mean someone will come into school tomorrow with a broken leg. Also, the assessor mentioned we have a duty of care for our visitors. Which I fully understand.

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Do you have a procedure for dealing with handicapped persons entering you premises and any appropriate equipment that you intend using.

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