Evacuation chair training – a legal requirement?

evacchairThe Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 recognises the importance to ensure all occupants, including occupants with disabilities, have reasonable access throughout a building, and places duties on all those that provide services to the public to make changes for disabled access where needed. These adjustments need to ensure that no person is at a disadvantage and requires the responsible person to provide a means of escape for everyone, including those with a disability.

In an emergency, lifts can usually not be used for evacuation, so stairs become the main escape route from the premises. For physically disabled people this can be a problem. In this situation evacuation chairs have to be considered in your evacuation planning. They offer safe evacuation for any people unable to use stairs. For evacuation to lower floor levels the chairs are usually operated by just one person. However, there are a range of evacuation chairs available, including chairs for evacuation to higher floors, on the market and Safelincs, as an approved partner of evacuation chairs from UK manufacturer Evac+Chair, is able to provide all of these. Please visit our website to see the full range of Evac+Chair models and accessories available.

Once you have chosen an evacuation chair as part of your escape route plan, do you need to provide training for your employees? According to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998, equipment provided for use at work needs to be “used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training.” This means that the employer, building owner, or the responsible person is to ensure all appointed employees (those responsible to use equipment in an emergency) receive adequate training as to the correct use of the equipment. By simply installing evacuation equipment alone you have not necessarily satisfied your requirements as the responsible person.

Should you have to renew your fire risk assessment, checks will normally be carried out as to whether training has been given for all the fire safety equipment located in the workplace. If an evacuation chair has been installed but no training has been provided for your employees, this would be seen as a  non-compliance and risk by the assessor.

When choosing an evacuation chair training course, ensure your employees receive comprehensive theoretical and practical training from a fully qualified and experienced trainer. At Safelincs, we offer nationwide on-site evacuation chair training, suitable for up to 6 participants per course and completed on a time and date to suit you. For more information regarding our evacuation chair training, please visit: https://www.safelincs.co.uk/evacuation-chair-training/ or call our friendly customer services team on 0800 612 6537.

References:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1995/50/contents
http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/puwer.htm

Hospitals can have free-swing fire doors and stay compliant

freedorThe Royal Liverpool University Hospital is a large hospital in the city of Liverpool. It has the countries biggest emergency department and is home to more than 40 wards and 710 beds. It is no wonder that a hospital on this scale found difficulties navigating patients on beds and in wheel chairs through their fire doors fitted with door closers. Mike Farrell, Fire Safety Advisor at the hospital said “Day-to-day, the staff at the hospital are constantly walking through entrances with trolleys and pushing beds so they need easy access. We found that doors were being wedged open as they are very heavy and difficult to get through.”

Although the wedging open of the fire doors may have made it easier for staff to negate the problematic fire doors it introduced a serious issue. Wedging a fire door open is illegal and puts lives at risk. A closed fire door prevents the spread of fire and protects staff and patients within the hospital. If the fire door cannot close in case of a fire, smoke and fire will spread through the building. Mike Farrell wanted to find a solution that would enable his staff to transport patients easily from one department to another and still comply with the fire safety regulations.

Freedor, a wireless free-swing door closer, offered Mike just the solution he was looking for. Fitted to the top of the door instead of the ordinary fire door closer, Freedor allows the fire door to be pushed open with ease. The door can also be left open at any angle. The device listens for the fire alarm and on hearing the alarm will automatically close the fire door, giving the required protection from the spread of fire. Mike commented “Following a trial, our staff were so pleased that we had Freedors installed on the entrance to the ward. It’s a financially viable option being cost effective as the product is wireless. It has made life so much easier for all our staff, they have easier access and it requires minimal effort to open and close the doors when they need to. We are now looking at purchasing more in the future.”

If you would like more information or advice on Freedor please contact Safelincs Ltd on 0800 612 6537 or send an email to support@safelincs.co.uk

Evacuation of Disabled Staff

Evac-Chair Evacuation ChairsDo you fully understand your responsibilities when it comes to the provision of evacuation devices? If the answer is no, Safelincs can offer you guidance, explaining the legislation linked to evacuation devices, and highlighting the products available to help you meet your legal responsibilities.

To quote from the official government document- Fire safety risk assessment – Supplementary guide: Means of Escape for Disabled People:

“Where an employer or a service provider does not make provision for the safe evacuation of disabled people from its premises, this may be viewed as discrimination. It may also constitute a failure to comply with the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.”

Are you confident you have covered every eventuality when it comes to your evacuation plan? Evacuation planning must account for all possible scenarios. Failure to identify and eliminate any weaknesses in your plan is likely to be judged as a criminal offence if a fire were to trap a person that would have escaped if appropriate devices had been provided.

To learn more about your responsibilities as a business owner or manager, make sure you read our comprehensive guide which distils everything you need to know into a single article.

Safelincs are committed to raising awareness of potential evacuation issues, and are on hand if you have any further questions regarding evacuation devices. We are also currently offering a substantial discount on our bestselling evacuation device to support this campaign.

If you would like to take advantage of our special offers on leading products, or require further information about any of our products, feel free to contact us via support@safelincs.co.uk, or on 0800 612 6537.

Keeping a fire door open legally….and safely

Dorgard Fire Door RetainersFire safety company Safelincs operates a website www.firescout.co.uk 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 smoke or fire alarms; 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 around the building.

Dorgard, the first innovative product Fireco, is a wireless appliance that can be screwed 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 System X which extends the versatility of Dorgard by linking several different devices and by overcoming 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, System X will wirelessly transmit simultaneously to multiple Dorgard X or Deafgard X 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.

The latest 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. The purchase price includes the installation through a professional installer.

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.