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Evacuate or not to evacuate, that is the question!

Evacuate or not evacuate that is the question !


There is still confusion around evacuation strategies and terminology especially when it comes to evacuating a mobility impaired persons. Simultaneous evacuation, progressive horizonal evacuation, stay put policy …………. and incredibly some still think wait for the Fire Service !


Various factors will determine the appropriate evacuation strategy for mobility impaired persons from a building


  • Type of building

  • Use of the building

  • Layout of the building

  • Fire resisting compartmentation

  • Risk assessment

  • Emergency procedures

  • PEEPs and GEEPs

  • Evacuation equipment available

  • Number of trained personnel available


Stay put policy - Generally only purpose built residential flats with appropriate fire resisting construction can be stay put and possibly require Fire Service intervention to assist with evacuation. Having said that, we recently carried out an evacuation risk assessment of a care premises that said they had a stay put policy which was completely wrong and has now been changed.


Progressive Horizonal Evacuation (PHE)PHE can also cause confusion where it is assumed evacuation equipment to go down stairs is not required which is wrong. All buildings with PHE procedures generally allow people to exit a room and turn left or right and make their way to a separate fire resisting compartment, however when at the last compartment non-ambulant persons may need to be taken down stairs therefore suitable evacuation equipment and trained personnel are required.


These procedures are generally for Care Premises but can be found in other types of buildings


Simultaneous Evacuation The most common evacuation procedure, fire alarm goes off everyone evacuates to the designated assembly point, However, a mobility impaired person can wait in a suitable designated refuge area for assistance and confirmation if there is a fire or incident that determines if they need to be evacuated or not.


This is a brief overview, our message is simple, for anyone permitted in a building there must be provisions to get them out without depending on the Fire Service. Even within blocks of residential flats and private dwelling suitable provisions should be considered depending on how the building is managed.


If you are unsure we can carry out evacuation risk assessments and advise accordingly



Emergency Assembly Point Sign
Emergency Assembly Point Sign

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