Evacuation Equipment Assessments Explained: Everything You Need To Know

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  • Calendar Icon 13th June 2023
  • Tags Icon Services, Equipment, PEEP, Assesments

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In the event of an emergency, it’s crucial that your building has appropriate evacuation equipment to ensure the safety of all building users. The equipment required will differ between buildings based on their layouts, features and the personal circumstances of people who use the building. If there are people in your building who are mobility impaired in any way, it’s essential to assess your space and identify the equipment necessary to evacuate them quickly and safely. Whether your building has multiple floors or just a few, an evacuation equipment assessment is the best way to determine the optimal equipment for you and your situation.

What happens during an evacuation equipment assessment?

The first thing we do when you register your interest with us is send you a form to fill out or go through it with you on the phone. This allows us to collect preliminary information about the features of your building and the users you have on site that would require assistance in an emergency. With this information on hand, we can then organise a site assessment with a demonstration of equipment if required. Going through some of this information prior to our arrival, means we can pre-select some of the most suitable products for your building and users to ensure you get the most out of this free of charge visit.

Whilst we are on site we are looking at the type of building, the measurements of your stairs and landings and a number of other features to ensure compatibility of equipment.

What questions do we ask?

First, we collect basic information about your building. This includes your business name, building address, building postcode, and site number/code if applicable. This information is important for identifying your specific building and for record keeping purposes.

Next, we collect information regarding the following:

Features of your building

Floors and Basements

When assessing your evacuation equipment needs, the first thing we need to know is how many floors and basements are in your building. This is a critical factor in determining the type of equipment necessary, and how much equipment is required in the building before reviewing PEEPs (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan).

Basements may introduce the need for powered equipment, to ensure the operators are not putting unnecessary strain on themselves by lifting manual equipment with a passenger up the staircases.

Access and Egress

When assessing your building, we will be checking for access and egress routes to ensure that building users can evacuate quickly and efficiently. In some cases, clients may require the use of powered evacuation equipment for use on a daily basis for access requirements. For example, has the building got wheelchair accessibility on all floors, or does the lift only cater to certain areas of the building?

Staircase Numbers and Shapes

To determine the correct evacuation equipment for your building, we need to know how many sets of stairs there are and whether any of them are spiral staircases.

Buildings with multiple sets of stairs or unusually shaped stairs may require different equipment.

We will always try to supply a uniformed product to each site, to ensure that training is compatible for all equipment.

Landing Measurements

Whilst it is very useful for us to have measurements of your staircases and workable space in advance of an assessment, we do understand that for some people it can be a little daunting. We will always measure the staircase and landing spaces if we have any concerns about the workable space for the evacuation equipment.

When measuring, we are considering the width and depth of your staircase, the available space between the handrails (not just the space on the floor) and the turning space available on any landings or sub landings.

Staircase Features

After you have taken the measurements of your staircase, have a look at its features.
What material is your staircase covered with? Carpet, concrete, tile, or something else?
Do your staircases have nosing? Make a note of these features.

Finally, where are your staircases situated? Are they on the inside or the outside of your building? External staircases may require a different type of evacuation device than internal staircases.

The features of the staircase will greatly affect the type of evacuation equipment suitable for your building. Most staircases are made up of an anti-slip stair nosing with a combination of carpet or wood, however, some may be open stone or marble which will react differently to each type of track system. It is important that the type of equipment matches your staircase features to ensure it works safely in its intended way.

Standard evacuation chairs are designed on a fixed track system, meaning they cannot be used on a spiral staircase as they would tip over on each step segment. The staircases may be complete spirals or segmented winders like below. There are a number of chairs and equipment that would work on this type of stairs which we would be happy to demonstrate on site.

Lifts

We require details of any lifts in your building – how many there are, where they are in the building and whether they are fire lifts. Fire lifts are designed to operate even during a fire and can be used for evacuation, however, this is the exception rather than the norm in most buildings.

PEEPS on Site

PEEPs are required for people who may need assistance during an evacuation. If you have any PEEPs on site, it’s essential to determine how many there are and provide details of their mobility requirements. This helps us to assess the suitability of the product for each user. Not every user can transfer into a manual evacuation chair and may require additional assistance in an emergency.

Wheelchair Users

If there are any wheelchair users in your building, it’s essential for us to know whether they use a powered or self-propelled wheelchair. Additionally, we need to know whether your end user is entirely reliant on their wheelchair or if they can move short distances without it. If your end user can self-transfer from their wheelchair to an evacuation product, this will change what products we recommend for you.

If they use a very specialised wheelchair, it may be better to opt for an evacuation product that can accommodate their wheelchair so that they do not have to leave it behind. If a powered evacuation product is required, then we will need to know the combined weight of the user and their wheelchair (including any accessories and batteries) to check suitability with the equipment SWL.

Other Mobility Aids

Mobility issues are varied and complex. Not everybody who needs assistance during an evacuation is necessarily a wheelchair user. If there is anyone in your building who is currently using crutches or a walking frame, they need to be included in your assessment. Additionally, those who are heavily pregnant or bariatric may need to be included. Consider that some mental health disorders and learning difficulties may also result in somebody requiring more support during an evacuation.

You should outline the health or mobility issues that any of your relevant end users have, as well as which area of your building they work in. If this is likely to change once the equipment is in place, please let us know so we can accommodate this. Any further information you can provide about these individuals is also very appreciated, as it will help us to provide you with the best options.
For some clients, it may be easier for us to have these conversations directly with the end user which can be arranged whilst on site.

PEEPs and evacuation strategies are an essential part of your health and safety protocol, but they only make up part of the picture. You might have planned everyone’s PEEPs to a high level of detail, but if you don’t have the correct evacuation equipment installed in your building, then your plan may not work as quickly or effectively as it should. In an emergency, every second counts – so make sure you’re adequately prepared and have the most suitable equipment in place.

Why do you need evacuation equipment assessments?

Safety of Employees

In the event of an emergency, it’s imperative that everyone in your building can evacuate quickly and safely. Evacuation equipment assessments identify any gaps in the equipment you have available, ensuring that everyone can leave the premises quickly and safely.

Legal Compliance

It is a legal requirement to provide safe means of escape for all people on the premises. This includes those with disabilities or mobility issues. Evacuation equipment assessments provide the best way to ensure that your site is compliant with any relevant regulations. It’s no longer acceptable to have your staff members carry the individual down the stairs along with their wheelchair, as there is a heightened risk of injury when you do not use the proper equipment.

Every Situation is Different

Every building is laid out a little differently, and every workplace contains varying numbers of people who may need assistance. In addition to this, individual mobility needs can be complex and varied. An evacuation equipment assessment gives you a chance to receive free, impartial advice regarding the efficacy of your current evacuation plans. It also allows you to ensure that you are using a product which fits your building and the needs of your end user perfectly.

Increased Awareness and Improved Emergency Response

Our expert advice can help you identify any areas where additional training or education might be needed to ensure your employees can respond appropriately in the event of an emergency. This can improve your overall emergency response times and outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does an evacuation equipment assessment cost?

Your first evacuation equipment assessment is free! Book yours through our contact form.

Where does Evacu8 offer evacuation equipment assessments?

Evacu8 are available nationwide!

How long does an evacuation equipment assessment take?

This can vary depending on the size of the site and the number of PEEPs we need to review. Typically we allocate a two hour window to complete the assessment. Following completion of the initial form, we can assess whether more time is required.

Conclusion

Finding the right evacuation equipment for your site doesn’t have to be long, complicated or difficult.

Our friendly team at Evacu8 is always available to answer any questions you may have. Contact us here or give us a call at 01908 585655.

Evacuating People Safety Since 2005 IOSH Safecontractor Certified CPD Certified