Disabled refuges should have the same level of protection as the stairwell and can usually be found on a landing close to but not blocking an emergency exit or stairwell in places such as schools, universities, hotels, shopping centres etc. Each disabled refuge intercom is linked to a central control centre allowing fire wardens to stay in two way communication with the occupants.
It is essential to have an evacuation plan in place, combined with adequate safety signposting and emergency lighting in case the power goes out. Evacuation Voice Communication Systems (EVS) such as these connect disabled toilet call systems, disabled refuges and fire telephone systems with the central control room for the building, allowing for full coordination between staff and the buildings occupants.
It is a “System that allows voice communication in either direction between a central control point and a number of other points throughout a building or building complex, particularly in a fire emergency situation.” (BS5839-9:2011 3.4).
Nationwide can assist in installation, upgrades and maintenance of such systems. We work directly with some of the leading manufacturers of life safety systems; ensuring our engineers are have all the information they need to keep you compliant and your building's occupants safe.
We can arrange a fire safety inspection to ensure you have everything in place to enable fast, safe evacuation of everyone in the unfortunate event of a fire or other emergency situation.
“Disabled people can be at particular risk in the event of a fire and need appropriate protection facilities. These might include relevant provisions for those requiring assistance, such as: ...[text] evacuation lifts or protected refuge areas and devices for taking people down or up stairs.”
“Attention is drawn to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which places duties on all employers and providers of services not to discriminate against disabled people, and to make adjustments to their policies, practices, procedures or physical features of their premises, to ensure that disabled people are not discriminated against..[text]... It is vital to ensure therefore, when making plans for the fire safety and management of buildings, that the requirements of disabled people are properly taken into account at all times.”
"The preferred method of evacuation for disabled people is by horizontal evacuation to the outside of the building or another fire compartment or by evacuation lift. If these are not available or not in operation, then it might be necessary to carry a person with limited mobility up or down the escape stair. Means of escape for disabled people may comprise a combination of structural provisions (e.g. lifts, refuge areas and ramps)...”
“The use of refuges within a building can be of great advantage in the evacuation of disabled people as it enables their escape to be managed in a way that does not hinder that of other users of the building.”