Legal Requirements

Did you know?
The recent Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order October 2005 states that every fire risk must be assessed and managed. You must ensure that all building users can escape safely if there is a fire!

Did you know?
Providing a safe means of evacuation for all building users is the responsibility of the building management - not the Fire and Rescue Service.

Did you know?
BS5588 Part 8 shows clearly that it is not acceptable to leave persons with disabilities in a “Refuge” area until the Fire Services are able to assist their escape.

Did you know?
Fire Brigades will always make rescuing people their top priority? If this delays controlling and extinguishing the main fire because the latest regulations have not been adhered to some Insurance Claims are being reduced by up to 60%

Did you know?
Very few lifts are suitable for evacuation and as many as 1 in 10 persons could be unexpectedly be unable to descend the stairs in the event of a fire or emergency.

Did you know?
The visitor capacity of a famous conference venue was hugely reduced by a Fire Safety Officer until appropriate access/evacuation equipment was in place

Today's law stipulates that it is no longer the duty of the Fire Service to make sure the workplace is safe.
The duty now lies with 'the responsible person'.
This person will ultimately be held accountable.

Further guidance and advice can be obtained from various sources including:

Some useful extracts:

Communities & Local Government

The need for a statement from the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) during the 2002 fire service strike about management responsibility, showed the extent of misunderstanding.

Some organisations thought that during the dispute, people with disabilities should not go to work, because they were expecting to rely on the fire service to evacuate them. This clearly showed that many organisations think this to be the case.

The DRC statement tried to counter this, but with an unknown impact. The statement is currently available on the DRC website statement.


Fire evacuation briefing: During the fire fighters strike some disabled people were refused entry to buildings because the building managers wrongly believed that the fire service is responsible for the evacuation of disabled people.

Building managers should not be contemplating refusing entry to disabled people but should have plans in place that ensure the safe evacuation of all building users whether or not the fire service is available.

Current legislation and standards state that all people should be evacuated if there is a fire.

There is no document which states that disabled people should be left in a building to wait for the fire service during a fire. In fact, current legislative documents and standards state that it is the responsibility of building management to ensure their safe escape by introducing suitable escape plans.

The responsibility is clearly with the building management or service providers to ensure there are suitable procedures in place to evacuate everyone including disabled people without relying on the fire service.

Evacuation plans should already be in place and should be equally applicable whether the fire service is operating normally or there is a fire fighters strike.

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Procedures for serious and imminent danger and for danger areas

Where necessary in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons, the responsible person must ensure that routes to emergency exits from premises and the exits themselves are kept clear at all times.

In the event of danger, it must be possible for persons to evacuate the premises as quickly and as safely as possible;

The responsible person must nominate a sufficient number of competent persons to implement procedures in so far as they relate to the evacuation of relevant persons from the premises

British Standard 9999
Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings

A test evacuation, in which people who require help are assisted to a place of ultimate safety, should be carried out at least once a year

Means of escape for disabled people may comprise a combination of structural provisions (e.g. lifts, refuge areas, ramps) and management procedures (e.g. assisted escape).

A strategy should be designed to enable a flexible response to different situations, most disabled people are expected to be able to reach a place of relative safety without assistance.

However certain people, such as some wheelchair users, cannot negotiate stairs unaided,
the management plan of a building should specify the procedure to be used for transporting disabled people up or down stairs where this is necessary. Staff should be identified and trained to convey disabled people up and/or down the evacuation stair.

Where equipment is provided to assist in the evacuation of disabled people (e.g. evacuation chairs etc.), it is important to ensure that its operational capability is maintained.

Before the public are admitted to any performance or function, the fire safety manager should ensure that any equipment provided to assist the evacuation of disabled
people, including evacuation lifts, evacuation chairs and vibrating pagers, is operative



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