It’s vital that any emergency evacuation plan has some level of contingency plan in place, or at least having general adjustments for those people who have not been acknowledged and not had an specific evacuation plan developed for them, including those who may have a temporary injury such as a broken leg, are expecting a child or acquire an developing disability during an actual crisis may need evacuation chairs or stretchers to get out.
In regards to members of the public visiting a public structure, it can be even more complicated and hard to accomplish. This could present some arduous tasks for a building or a service administrator. Any person accountable for a building must have policies in place to make certain that any individuals not accustomed with the emergency organisation procedures within a building can securely evacuate the structure without harm. These policies should be well defined and detailed within a Group Emergency Evacuation Plan.
Workplace health and safety laws in most countries contain duties for employers to make available a safe atmosphere and environment for people in their place of work. This responsibility covers all occupants, irrespective of their capabilities, even if they are staff or members of the public.
Some easy to establish tactics that have been proposed for an evacuation plan include:
- Displaying a sign at reception stands affirming “We run a system of aided evacuation for visitors with infirmities. Please inform our receptionist your necessities.”
- Unmistakeable directions and exit signs, shown in accessible presentations with Braille and tactile fonts.
- Showing large emergency evacuation diagrams that clearly show where a person is located and accessible paths of outlet. This may encompass directing people with mobility impairments to an evacuation chair or staging area for aided withdrawal.
- Giving the information in a variety of layouts such as braille and large print.
- Founding good communication strategies, comprising public statements updating occupiers with info.
- Visual alarms in isolated locations (i.e. change rooms and toilets) and in public spaces.
- Security staff in public gathering buildings, shopping centres etc. who can apply standardised evacuation plan during an emergency.
- The usage of security cameras is beneficial to monitor people’s actions and movement within evacuation paths, it’s also chiefly important to classify people who may find the evacuation problematic.
There have been a number of recent events that provide justification for the use of evacuation plans and the need for decent equipment such as evacuation chairs. Washington DC in the USA recently experienced multiple power outages all over the area. Statistically, when looking at the average activities of society at the time, these outages would have left a sizable amount of occupants still in the DC subways or on levels of a building where aid would be essential to safely evacuate each facility or building. Thankfully these outages are rare in the UK. Imagine if the lights suddenly went out on your way to work in the rush hour of the London Underground, scary stuff.
This proves how vital evacuation policies are, and how necessary the correct equipment such as evacuation chairs and stretchers.