Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
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MS38 Disabled evacuation

Right click to download this fileMS 38.pdf
Building occupiers who make their premises more accessible for disabled persons might be increasing fire risk to life. The January 2003 bulletin looks at the forces driving increased disabled access and examines the ways in which this process can affect fire safety - and how employers can manage the increased risk. In October 2004, changes to The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 comes into force. This will require providers of goods, facilities and services to modify their premises to provide a non-discriminatory building for the disabled. Recognising this development has led many organisations to commission ‘access audits’. Companies are often thrown into turmoil when managers realise that providing equal levels of facility and service to physically disabled people may mean comprehensive re-planning and reorganisation of their premises. This bulletin gives the answer to the questions all occupiers are asking: What fire safety provisions does the building occupier have to provide for the disabled person? Whose responsibility is the emergency evacuation of the disabled? The bulletin goes on to discuss the various areas of disability. Most of the time the term ‘disabled’ conjures the image of a person in a wheelchair. But managers also have to consider those who are partially ambulant, breathless, pregnant or even simply getting on in years. The bulletin emphasises the importance of the fire risk assessment. Questions can be asked such as: do we need to evacuate the disabled every time the fire alarm system is activated? This is not always necessary, although passive and other fire protection measures have to be in place to protect a disabled person who remains, possibly in a specially designed ‘refuge’. In most circumstances, the bulletin concludes, fire risk will be controlled by management procedures. As with any fire evacuation system, effective procedures are essential.

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FIRE SAFETY BLOGS

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