Safelincs are proud to be able to help support Evie Toombes with her quest to fund a medical horse box. Evie is an inspirational teenager with spina bifida and is a para show jumper from Skegness, Lincolnshire. She is also an ambassador for hidden disabilities and visits schools to talk to children about her hidden disability in the hope that she will give confidence to other children to speak about their problems.
Over the past few years Evie’s condition meant that she was unable to tolerate food and as a result lost a lot of weight and now needs to be fed through a tube into her stomach. Her condition also affects her legs, bladder and bowel.
Ill health and numerous hospital visits started to make it very difficult for Evie to continue to compete, so two years ago Evie embarked on a plan to fund a medical unit horse box which would give her the ability to go to shows with all her medical equipment.
“Thank you for your support towards the purchase of my medical horse box, the security of having a vehicle that is safe and well equipped enough to deal with the current medical needs I face (that has landed me in hospital at least once a month every month for 15 months) is truly incredible,” said Evie Toombes.
Riding gives Evie freedom from her health issues and the bond with her horse and ponies gives her a boost when she is feeling unwell. Evie has won several trophies. We wish Evie every success in her future competitions.
Angie Dewick-Eisele is co-founder of Safelincs Ltd, one of the leading fire safety providers in the UK. Angie was Marketing Manager for many years and as Director is these days responsible for Content Management.
As with any other item of fire safety equipment, there is a requirement to deliver training. If an organisation determines that an evacuation chair is required sufficient training should be provided. Evacuation chair training ensures that nominated staff members can act quickly and confidently when called to do so. Evacuation chair training is therefore required to fulfil what HSE identify as organisations’ ‘duty to provide a means of escape for disabled people’.
Is evacuation chair training a legal requirement?
Yes, where evacuation chairs are installed, staff must legally be trained to use the equipment. This is required by the Equality Act 2010, which recognises the difficulties that some individuals may face during an evacuation. Under this act, organisations are responsible for providing means for safe evacuation of every building occupant. This includes both installing evacuation chairs where required, and training enough staff to use them. According to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998, equipment provided for use at work can be ‘used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training.’ This is essential for evacuation chairs, which are considered to be medical equipment. Misuse in a stressful evacuation situation puts the operator, the chair user, and those around them at risk of injury.
Why is evacuation chair training required?
There are legislative requirements for evacuation chair training. The qualification ensures the safety and confidence of both the chair user and the operator. If not used correctly, lives could be put at risk. Training is therefore essential to ensure the competence of the chair operator, who has undertaken a significant personal responsibility to evacuate a friend, colleague, or visitor to safety in an emergency.
Who should receive training?
Due to the significant responsibility placed on individuals who receive training, it is important to ensure that they meet the following criteria:
They are a willing volunteer – no one should be forced to take on this responsibility.
They are responsible – staff members selected should be sensible, reliable, and understand the importance of their role.
They work in the vicinity of the person identified as needing support. It must be practical and possible for the trained member of staff to get to both the chair and the chair user in an emergency (e.g., they should work on the same floor).
They are physically able. Nominees trained to use the chair don’t need to be incredibly strong, but mobility and stamina might be required.
There should be enough individuals trained to cover shift patterns and absence from work.
How often should training be refreshed?
Once an individual has successfully completed an evacuation chair training course, they can operate that model of chair for up to 3 years. After this time, refresher training is legally required. There are several other reasons that evacuation chair training might need to be carried out again. If a member of staff who is trained to use the chair leaves, is promoted, or otherwise becomes unable to operate it, a replacement member of staff must be trained. Similarly, if a new FRA, PEEP, or fire drill identifies an individual who would not be able to evacuate, and an additional chair is installed, another member of staff must receive evacuation chair training.
How many people should receive training on your evacuation chairs?
At a minimum, there must be one evacuation chair installed for every person who would need support to evacuate. For every chair installed, at least one member of staff must be trained and confident to operate it. However, to ensure the safety of all building users when trained staff are unavailable (on annual leave, off sick, or moved to a different office), it is sensible to train additional members of staff where possible. Enrolling a member of staff in a ‘Train the Trainer’ course can be a cost-effective way for training to be dispersed throughout your organisation.
Fulfilling your organisation’s evacuation chair training requirements
Fire safety company Safelincs operates a website called firescout that invites visitors to submit photographs of any potentially dangerous situations they have spotted. All entries are anonymous, the idea being to educate rather than ‘name and shame’. Safelincs then offers advice as to whether the situation could incur a fine and how much, if anything, it would cost to remedy the situation.
A common misdemeanour is to prop open a fire door, sometimes with a fire extinguisher – a double transgression!
Fire doors are an essential part of the fabric of a building and have two important functions in the event of a fire; when closed they form a barrier to stop the spread of fire or smoke and when opened they provide a means of escape. They are designed to be kept closed except when people are passing through them. In some businesses, and in places such as care homes or schools, closed fire doors can act as a hindrance to general mobility and moving around to perform essential tasks. However, there is a way in which the situation can be overcome without compromising safety or breaking the law.
Safelincs provide a number of products manufactured by specialist manufacturer Fireco which allow fire doors to be kept open legally and safely. Each of these products works by responding to the sound (anything above 65 decibels) of a fire alarm; the mechanism holding the door open is released and the door closer on the fire door closes it to prevent the spread of fire and smoke spreading around the building.
Dorgard, the first innovative product from Fireco, is a wireless appliance that can be screwed to the base of a door in less than five minutes. The standalone device will then hold the door open at any angle allowing freedom of access throughout the building. Utilising acoustic technology, Dorgard ‘listens’ for a continuous alarm of 65dBA or higher which, once heard, will automatically release the door. Dorgard is available in a variety of colours and finishes which will blend in with any décor.
Fireco also produces the Dorgard Pro System which extends the versatility of Dorgard by linking several different devices and overcomes the issue of noisy workplaces. A transmitter is wirelessly installed next to a fire alarm sounder or hardwired into the fire alarm system. In the event of a fire, Dorgard Pro will wirelessly transmit simultaneously to multiple Dorgard Pro units within a 100 metre range. Safelincs will visit an organisation’s premises and undertake a free survey and make recommendations for siting an effective system.
Another product from Fireco is Freedor, a unique wire free solution that allows a door to free-swing just like a normal door and to be held open at any angle – automatically closing the door in a controlled manner when a fire alarm sounds. It utilises the same technology that is employed in Dorgard but is fixed unobtrusively to the top of the door. Using Freedor allows freedom of access throughout the building for disabled people and people less able to operate the doors, and assists businesses complying with the Equality Act 2010.
All these products have applications in a wide variety of environments and allow easy movement through a building without compromising safety or contravening fire safety regulations.
To find out more about the Fireco range go to www.safelincs.co.uk and follow the link to Fire Door and Exit Equipment or call 0800 612 6537 where there are friendly experts on hand to offer advice.