Fire Safety Guide for Wheelchair Users and the Visually Impaired

Fire Safety Guide for Wheelchair Users and the Visually Impaired

Businesses need to ensure they are fully accommodating to anyone who works in their building at all times. This also includes visitors who may come to your workplace in a wheelchair or have visual impairments. One of the areas that people often overlook as far as accessibility is making sure they have a fire safety plan in place. Keep reading as we discover some of the best ways you can protect everyone in your building in the case of an emergency. Visit ukredsecurity.co.uk/integrated-fire-systems/ for more information about looking after everyone in your workplace in the future.

Laws for a Fire Safety Guide For Persons With Disability

While you might not have many wheelchair users in your building, there are laws in place which you need to follow to remain in compliance at all times. The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order, 2005 states that any commercial building’s owner or manager will need to have a risk assessment which is updated regularly in regard to evacuating anyone in a wheelchair. You need to think very carefully to plan how everyone can safely get out quickly in an emergency. The Disability Discrimination Act also encourages all business owners to have plans in place, regardless of what type of business they own and operate. You never know when a contractor or visitor might arrive in a wheelchair. Just as you would offer them easy access to your building, you also need to provide them with a solid escape plan in an emergency.

Planning for Emergency Evacuations

When it comes to putting together a plan for your business, you need to think about the number of people who use a wheelchair or have a visual impairment in your building. You can’t always rely on trained firefighters to arrive on time, so ensure your team is fully trained in proper fire-fighting techniques. This will need to include evacuating those who need further assistance. Make sure this training is carried out every time someone joins your company but is also updated on a regular basis. Think about the unique characteristics of your building and any areas which make it harder for a wheelchair to fit through. Discover how you would react when the alarm goes off, through to the moment when you are all safely outside the building. Everyone in your building needs to know how to react in this situation, as you never know when a fire alarm will go off and who will be present at that time.

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan

A Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) is the term that’s usually used to refer to evacuating people with disabilities. This is designed to help safely evacuate everyone in the building and ensure no one is left behind just because they are in a wheelchair or have any type of visual impairment. A fire safety guide for wheelchair users will indicate what type of extra assistance is needed in an emergency. Your fire safety guide for blind people could include the names of the people who would be able to help and how they would guide someone to safety in an emergency. You need to think about every possible situation you could find yourself in and then work through these with your team, so they know how to respond.

Safely Evacuating a Wheelchair User

Once you have fire systems and plans in place for wheelchair users and how they’ll be evacuated, it’s time to think about safe evacuation techniques. While it’s great to focus on getting them out of the building, you also don’t want anyone else to get injured due to carrying someone with the wrong technique. Also, think about any hidden impairments that team members or visitors could have. These might make an evacuation of your building even more of a challenge, so you’ll need to think carefully about what routes you take in an emergency.

Ensure you have a refuge area in place for once the evacuation is underway. This can give someone the protection that’s needed from fire and smoke. They could be of huge help if you are waiting for the emergency services to arrive, who might be able to finish off the evacuation more safely. The first step to responding to a fire is to stop everything you are doing immediately and collect any evacuation equipment to help your colleagues or visitors. You’ll work through the instructions in the PEEP and remain at the workstation as requested if you are a wheelchair user until help arrives. You need to act calmly at all times during an emergency and never re-enter the building until you are told that it is safe to return. This fire safety guide for the visually impaired can be used in any type of workplace and could be what helps to save multiple lives during an emergency.

Fire alarms are one of the most critical parts of your fire safety plans. By installing a fire alarm system with everyone in your workplace in mind, you’ll be able to quickly get everyone out. Contact us today for more information about installing fire alarm systems and protecting your team this year.

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