The LWF Blog
Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Means of Escape for Disabled People – Part 136February 14, 2022 1:13 pm
Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF) is a specialist fire engineering and fire risk management consultancy whose aim is to give information on best practice in fire safety for facilities management personnel through this blog series. In part 135, LWF looked at the challenges presented by fire doors when considering both fire safety and building security. In part 136, we begin to consider means of escape from the point of view of making provision for people with disabilities.
Disabled people have a right to be able to enter and use modern buildings, to work, to undertake study, to shop or partake in leisure activities, among many reasons. This right is laid out in the Building Regulations and backed by the Equality Act 2010.
It follows a disabled person’s right to access that they also have a right to safe egress from a building in case of a fire. While disabilities can affect a person in many different ways, the emphasis on safe egress and means of escape of the subject means that in the main, emphasis will be on non-ambulatory persons and persons using wheelchairs. There are also particular fire safety facilities relating to fire alarms and warning of fire that should be implemented for people who are blind or partially-sighted and for people who may be deaf or partially deaf, but they will be addressed later in this series.
BS 9999 provides guidance on means of escape for all persons, including for disabled people and replaces the disability-specific standard BS 5588-8, which was withdrawn. The standard mainly relates to new buildings, although they may also be applied in the case of substantial renovation of an existing building and up to date fire safety measures should be applied where it is possible and practicable to do so.
While much of the guidance and standards on fire safety measures for disabled persons relate to structural provision, it is also important that management procures for a building are formed and carried out with the safety of disabled persons on the premises in mind. For example, disabled persons may require assistance to evacuate a building or to reach a defined place of safety within the building. Assistance and supervision may be required when using an evacuation lift, where one is provided.
In part 137 of this series, LWF will continue to look at the necessary provision for disabled people to undertake safe means of escape from a building. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.
Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.
While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.