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Accidents can happen in the workplace, and sometimes, they require a quick and efficient evacuation. Whether you have only a small crew of professionals or hundreds of people on the payroll, planning ahead can help you and your staff face these emergencies with a cool head.
When it comes to creating your official evacuation plans, inclusivity is more than just a corporate buzzword you can slap onto the memo and call it a day. It’s a top-down policy that forces you to think critically about your building and address all your employees’ needs. That’s because some of your staff may need a little extra help in an emergency.
People with Disabilities Have Specific Needs in an Emergency
Disaster strikes — let’s say a fire breaks out in your building. The alarm sounds, the emergency lights go on, the elevators power down, and the sprinklers may even burst into action. The signs are clear: you have to evacuate the building and wait for the fire department to arrive.
With the elevators out of the running, your escape route now involves the stairs. For most of your staff, this should pose as no problem. But there are some staff members who will need extra help. Senior employees, pregnant people, and individuals with mobility issues, illnesses, or disabilities may not be able to navigate the stairs in a safe or rapid manner.
Add an Evacuation Chair at Every Stairwell
If you work in a multi-storied building, your evacuation plan must accommodate these employees with an evacuation chair for stairs.It’s not just for your peace of mind. In North America, the UK, and Europe, it’s the law. Labour codes and disability legislation requires employers to accommodate disabled people in an emergency.
An evacuation chair for stairs does this by transporting people down the stairs in a safe and dignified manner. Although the typical stair chair looks like a relatively ordinary chair on wheels,its sophisticated tracking and running system means it’s capable of going downstairs smoothly.
Incorporate Training into Your Plans
Once you have an evacuation chair stored at the appointed stairwells, it’s time to assign staff who will operate them. It only takes one person to steer these chairs, but it’s helpful to have a whole team on standby in case someone isn’t present on the day of the emergency.
To make sure they know how to operate these evacuation chairs efficiently, set aside time for training. Both the person who will control the chair and the person who will strap in need to know how they’ll work in tandem during an emergency.
Ask the People You’re Trying to Accommodate
The takeaway? You need to adapt your emergency evacuation plans so that everyone has a safe way out, and sometimes, that means investing in special tools. If you aren’t sure if your plans are inclusive, reach out to safety boards, disability organizations, and the people you’re trying to protect. Together, you can make a plan that offers more than just surface-level accessibility.