How to Help People With Disabilities in a Fire

13 March 2020

Have you got a PEEP or a GEEP in place?

If you’ve an employee or a resident in one of your premises, that requires extra help to enable them to escape safely, you need to consider a PEEP

A PEEP is a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan

It is a bespoke ‘escape plan’ to secure the safety of a specific person, in the event of an emergency evacuation. Drawing up the plan with the individual, means you can agree a method of evacuation. The PEEP will detail the escape routes, and identify the people who will assist in carrying out the evacuation and training.

The plan should be regularly tested during evacuation drills, to ensure that all staff are aware of the procedures and are competent, as well as capable of using any evacuation equipment. Give a copy of the PEEP to everyone involved and also file a copy for your records. Individual Permanent staff member/resident, that require aid to evacuate, will require a PEEP each. If you have anyone with short term injuries eg broken leg/medical conditions or in the late stages of pregnancy, you can create a temporary PEEP.

If your premises is open to the general public then a GEEP would apply to you.

A GEEP is a General Emergency Evacuation Plan

Required in buildings used by the general public or places of work with a transient workforce.

If a premises is accessible to mobility impaired or disabled people a PEEP wouldn’t work as an emergency evacuation plan. In these circumstances, the responsible person would need to devise a GEEP. This needs to cover the same points that are outlined in a PEEP. It also needs to be practical and robust helping to ensure you are prepared for any eventuality. You will have many different types of visitors and it needs to give you a plan for all. To facilitate everyone’s prompt and safe egress, there needs to be adequate procedures, staffing and equipment in place.

Have you considered your signage?

What about the less obvious disabilities. It is estimated between 10-15% of the UK population have Dyslexia. Those affected can benefit from signage in lower case lettering instead of all Capital letters. Lowercase letters have a more distinctive shape than capital letters and so, they can be perceived more quickly. It’s worth considering if you have many different visitors to your premises.

Do you have an impact on your visitors ability to evacuate?

If you’re a medical practice/Dental surgery/Opticians, will some of your clients be under mild sedation or have impaired eyesight, which can make them disorientated? This could be for a very short period of time, however you need a plan in place, to ensure someone takes charge and ensures they are given the help they need, to evacuate.

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