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Planning For ALL Staff Members Egress

  • January 22, 2008
  • Bruce Bromley

Emergency Evacuation is high priority for ALL people. With the ever increasing likelihood of accidents, fires, flooding and terrorism emergency evacuation plans need to incorporate all levels of staff abilities.

What happens with a staff member with a disability in an emergency?
How do you assist people of differing needs to ESCAPE?
Who is responsible for assisting staff in an emergency evacuation including visiting individuals

Equal Access consults throughout Australia strategically supporting organisations to plan for the emergency evacuation of ALL staff members, including the development of Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEP’s).

PEEP’s are customised documentations that provide the framework for the planning and provision of emergency evacuation of people with a disability.

The most important component to emergency evacuation is – to get everyone out safely.

The only “SAFE PLACE” is outside the building

 

Burning wheelchair after evacuationWorkcovers advice is:
“Generally speaking if a person is physically disabled the procedure is to leave them in a safe place on the floor with another employee staying with then. If they then need to be physically evacuated from the building, the person is removed from the workplace by the fireman attending the premises. WorkSafe has some physically disabled persons and this is the procedure we adopt.

If it was decided by the Fireman that a disabled person was required to be moved from a particular level they, as part of there training, would move the disabled person to a safe level below the level the fire is on. There would generally not be a need to completely move the person out of the building entirely.”

‘What’s a safe place?’ – This ad hoc policy is inadequate and is of great concern.

Is it reasonable, equitable, or dignified to expect a fireman to evacuate someone from a wheelchair down 10, 20 or even 50 floors? Could this cause further injuries, place fireman’s health and safety at risk?

What about staff members that are vision impaired, blind, or deaf who will assist them in the panic, if set procedures are not in place?

These evacuation procedures must be developed and practiced. It is no longer acceptable to say during an evacuation drill that people with a disability, pregnant or obese do not have to participate.