AS3745 Planning for Emergencies in Facilities

  • December 19, 2009
  • Bruce Bromley


The following are extracts from the soon to be released AS3745 which is currently awaiting voting on by Standards Australia. The revised AS 3745 is expected to be approved February 2010. 

This standard finally addresses seriously the evacuation requirements of people with disability. Some specific requirements that will have an affect on building designers include the provision of “Refuges” and “Stairwell Evacuation Devices”

The objective of this Standard is to enhance the safety of people in facilities, by providing a framework for emergency planning, utilizing the built facilities as appropriate.

The following are some of the extracts directly relating to people with a disability

1.4.23 Occupant/visitor with a disability
A person who requires–
(a) more time or different forms of communication, compared with other occupants, to respond to an emergency; or
(b) assistance to respond to an emergency or evacuate from a facility.

1 The definition above is taken from the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA).
2 ‘Disability’ includes but is not limited to the meaning given in Section 4.(1), sub-sections (a) to (h) for ‘Disability’, within the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA).
3 ‘Occupant/visitor with a disability’ also includes an associate of a person with a disability as defined in the DDA, or a companion animal.

1.4.24 Personal emergency evacuation plan (PEEP)
An individualized emergency plan designed for an occupant with a disability who may need assistance during an emergency.

1.4.25 Refuge
An area on a floor or area that is specifically designed to protect people from heat, smoke and toxic gases and which provides direct access to an exit.

1 An area of refuge is intended to facilitate a safe delay in egress from the floor or area, thus constituting a space for people to await assistance for their evacuation.
2 Refuges are normally nominated by the relevant certifier. Occupants and visitors with a disability
The evacuation arrangements for persons with a disability shall be considered in the development of the emergency response procedures.

4.2.17 Stairway evacuation device
Consideration should be given to the use and suitability and storage arrangements of stairway evacuation devices for people who use wheelchairs or who otherwise would need to be carried down the stairway.

NOTE: Any stairway evacuation device should be operated by a competent person.

4.2.11 Occupants and visitors with a disability
When developing emergency response procedures, consideration shall be given to occupants and visitors who for one reason or another are unlikely to be able to act optimally in an emergency. This would include but not be limited to occupants and visitors who –
(a) are accompanied by an assistant;
(b) have a guide or companion animal;
(c) use alternative forms of information and communication;
(d) have an ambulatory disability;
(e) use a wheeled mobility appliance, including wheelchair or scooter;
(f) are easily fatigued;
(g) easily experience acute anxiety in an emergency; or
(h) easily experience extreme confusion in an emergency.

A current list of the names, workplaces and other necessary information about occupants with a disability should be kept at the locations where the chief warden exercises control.

Suitable strategies in an emergency or evacuation should be discussed with those occupants from the facility who have a disability and a personal emergency evacuation plan (PEEP) developed for each of those persons.

Information on the PEEP shall be disseminated to all people responsible for its implementation.