Headteacher Magazine, guide to services and products for UK Schools
To ensure schools, colleges, universities and academies are fully-equipped with the knowledge to evacuate safely, Evac+Chair has launched: A Specialist Guide to Emergency Evacuation for Educational Premises.
Exploring emergency evacuation procedures in educational facilities, the guide is aimed at headteachers, principals, governors, vice-chancellors, facilities managers, occupiers and owners of educational premises.
The report looks at who is responsible in an emergency evacuation, what to do in an emergency, who requires specific emergency evacuation training and how to ensure mobility-impaired pupils are evacuated safely from any education environment.
Gerard Wallace, managing director at Evac+Chair said, “We’ve been manufacturing evacuation chairs for 35 years, so we believe many of those responsible for evacuating educational establishments might value a simple but specific guide as to what measures needs to be in place in case of an emergency in an educational facility.
“Schools and universities often have hundreds or even thousands of people in them at one time, a significant number of whom may be mobility-impaired and therefore the principal and nominated staff need to know the right procedures for the right people. This is where our guide comes in.
“Our new education guide gives precise advice to help minimise the risks in any school, university, college or academy in an emergency situation.”
It’s proven that knowing what to do in an emergency saves lives and prevents extreme circumstances going from bad to worse. More so, being able to accommodate anyone regardless of their mobility issues is of growing importance for inclusivity in educational facilities.
To improve student, visitor and staff safety at your own facilities, download your copy of the guide today from the Evac+Chair website: www.evacchair.co.uk/a-guide-to-ensure-schools-and-universities-are-educated-in-safe-emergency-evacuation/
Staff employed in any educational premises must know their role in an emergency and be well-educated to ensure everyone is evacuated safely from a building. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 emphasises risk reduction and fire prevention.
Managing fire risks within your school and providing an evacuation plan to all staff, pupils and visitors are legal requirements of the Fire Safety Order.The main rules under the order are that workplaces, including schools and other educational institutions, must carry out a fire risk assessment, identifying possible dangers and consider those who may be especially at risk.
The Fire Safety Order is clear – the ‘responsible person’ needs to ensure everyoneis evacuated safely during an emergency.
Who is the responsible person?
In an educational establishment, the ‘responsible person’ could be the headteacher, the principal, chancellor, president, vice-chancellor, master or the board of governors. In schools maintained by the local authority, the ultimate responsibility for fire safety lies with the council but duties can be delegated.
Alongside the ‘responsible person’, schools, colleges and universities should enlist fire wardens and management to deploy regular co-ordinated practice sessions including practice with relevant equipment to ensure vital skill sets do not diminish. Specific drills should also be conducted with a reduced number of staff and students in order to be prepared for an emergency taking place outside normal working hours.
The safe evacuation of the school is not the responsibility of the fire service. Your education establishment’s procedure should clearly set out which members of staff are responsible for students and which are responsible for checking different areas during an evacuation.
Evacuation chairs are proven to be the most efficient and user-friendly aids in emergencies, enabling the operator and passenger to safely exit the building.
Due to more than one person possibly needing assistance, other types of evacuation products may be required such as slide sheets, rescue mats or stretchers in addition to evacuation chairs.
All evacuation aids must be located in a designated refuge point which is specified in the building’s fire strategy. Each fire exit must accommodate the able-bodied and mobility-impaired so all equipment must be readily available and accessible at the refuge point.
The responsible person and specific individuals who will assist the mobility-impaired during an evacuation, are fully trained to use Evac+Chairs by Evac+Chair’s specialist trainers. This training is to one of two standards: dedicated operator or key trainer.
Royal Latin School in Buckinghamshire
Case Study - Problem
Royal Latin School identified the need for additional emergency evacuation aid for mobility-impaired students, staff and visitors.
The school installed 15 Evac+Chairs to ensure safe escape routes for everyone as well as providing key members of staff with Evac+Chair’s servicing maintenance programme and training.
Debbie Donoghue, premises manager at the Royal Latin School, said: “The safety of our pupils, staff and visitors is paramount and having the confidence that we have the highest-quality safety apparatus in the event of an emergency is crucial. Lifts should not be used in the event of a fire or other emergencies and, for some, this could cut off exits from our building. The school’s investment in installing 15 evacuation chairs will ensure a safe escape route for everyone.
“The more people who are trained in using the Evac+Chair the better as this will minimise risk and improve accessibility. Regular servicing and ongoing maintenance provided by Evac+Chair ensures compliance with key legislation and will also ensure that the apparatus is kept in good working order. It is extremely reassuring to know that, should we require it, we have the necessary equipment and skills to potentially save lives.”
Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.