What is the difference between an assembly point and a refuge point?
We are often asked what is the difference between an assembly point and a refuge point.
For most types of buildings with appropriate emergency procedures, an assembly point is a place of complete safety outside and away from a building that does not obstruct the approach of the emergency services. Occupants of the building assemble and wait for further instruction by building fire safety management when a fire alarm has activated.
A refuge point is generally a place of relative safety with appropriate fire resisting compartmentation where a mobility impaired person can wait for assistance from suitably trained staff to evacuate them with appropriate equipment if necessary, or simply wait for confirmation if there is an emergency or not. If there is no emergency, for example an unwanted fire alarm activation, providing appropriate management control measures are in place the mobility impaired person and staff member can wait and not evacuate the building.
The use of a refuge area should also form part of a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan or Generic Emergency Evacuation Plan.