What is a refuge area?
A disabled refuge area is generally an area within a fire protected staircase enclosure (can be another location) that is deemed a place of relative safety where a mobility impaired person / user of a wheelchair can wait to be assisted up or downstairs and out of a building to a place of complete safety by the management of the building.
They are not a place where a mobility impaired person / user of a wheelchair should wait to be rescued by the Fire Service.
The location and use of a refuge area should form part of a buildings fire strategy, emergency procedures and Personal/Generic Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs/GEEPs).
All to often refuge areas could also be considered a refuse areas and additional space where rubbish and storage is left. Refuge areas must be considered as essential parts of a building fire safety and evacuation system and managed accordingly.
Some refuges may also have a communication system, again another part of a buildings fire safety and evacuation systems that must be understood and managed, we have experienced situations where the call system is operated and there is no-one at the receiving end of the system as everyone has evacuated the building, so again clear procedures are essential.
For any advice about evacuation solutions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org