Accessibility also needs to be taken into account when thinking about the emergency evacuation process for your workplace. In the case of an emergency, a number of challenges can crop up, so it’s always best to be prepared. Think about:
Are you able to alert others?
If you’re required to use a fire alarm, telecom or other communications device to alert others to the risk of fire, is this something you’re able to do?
Are you able to open and close fire doors?
If this is a particular challenge for you, speak with your manager about adjusting the weight of the doors to make them easier to open and close.
What is your method for evacuation?
If you currently enter and exit the building via a staircase, is this something you’ll be able to do at speed during an emergency situation?
If you currently use a lift to access the building, is there a viable alternative exit route for when the lift is out of action during an emergency evacuation?
Do you have access to an evacuation chair?
Whilst this can be a good solution for safely evacuating a building, there are a few things you should think about so that you can be prepared for any emergency situation.
- Are you able to comfortably (and quickly) get in and out of the chair?
- Have your colleagues been trained on how to operate the chair and support you in using it?
- Is there enough space on the stairs for you to safely use the chair?
If your workplace doesn’t have an evacuation chair installed, it may be that they’re able to fit an emergency skid pad on the staircase. Before using this, you’ll need to consider the impact on your joints. If it’s likely to cause harm, you should seek an alternative solution.
If you’re concerned about being able to safely evacuate your workplace during an emergency situation, it might be worth discussing a personal evacuation plan with your employer.