Employees need to learn how to evacuate the workplace in case of a fire. The important thing is that employers and building owners develop evacuation procedures. First and foremost, a part of the building needs to be designated as the refuge area. Employers and Employees should know that this area is used to wait for help when evacuation is not possible. Interestingly, emergency exit corridors and smoke-protected stairwells are fire resistant for just two hours. Indeed, emergency personnel check exits and stairwells first for stranded victims. Next, there should be a plan stating who will assist visitors and disabled people.
OSHA recommends specific guidelines in an evacuation for people with disabilities, including those with:
- low vision or blindness
- crutches, canes or walkers
Experts recommend using evacuation chairs to move the disabled. Evacuation chairs should be lightweight, strong and easy to operate. It is a good idea to have employees practice using the chairs in case of emergency. In addition, evacuation chairs should be easily carried. Most often, the chairs must be carried up stairs to help get others down. The recommend weight for a chair is twenty pounds. Also, make sure the evacuation chair easily gets down stairs. In order to evacuate safely, people have to roll the chair down the stairs. Many chairs allow the user to speed up, slow down and stop.
Plans for evacuating the disabled should include the route and method of evacuation. In addition, recruit partners to assist each person with a disability. Emergency plans should be updated on a regular basis to include the number of people who need extra help during an incident and their work location. Partners should be ready and trained to assist in the event of a problem. Make sure that everyone who assists is trained in the proper way of lifting people from wheelchairs. Keep in mind that some disabled workers have limited movement while others have little upper body strength. Always ask disabled people their preferable way of being moved. In any event, evacuation chairs make the job easier. Every building should be equipped with this valuable safety equipment.