With a variety of regulations and requirements, it may seem like there is a lot to keep on top of to ensure that buildings remain fire-safety compliant. With equality and disability-awareness on the top of our agenda, we’ve set out a few of the surrounding laws and legislations that have been put in place to comply with fire evacuation requirements:
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order
All buildings – whether commercial, private, or public access – are required by law to comply with fire safety regulations. This means, it is compulsory to ensure that your employees, residents, and any visitors are fully protected in the event of an emergency.
As the ‘responsible person’ of a building, it is your duty to carry out a fire risk assessment. Looking at any potential risks, how these will be mitigated and in the event of an emergency, how to safely remove individuals from a building.
Supplying accurate fire safety instructions – that are available to any person that enters your building – is an integral part of reducing these risks. With that being said, when looking at removing all people from a building, it’s extremely important to consider those with physical disabilities as well as Deaf and hard of hearing people.
Equality Act (2010)
The Equality Act 2010 provides a legal framework that essentially creates equality for all, protecting individuals from unfair treatment and promoting a fair and more equal society.
Any company, organisation or service provider has the responsibility to ensure anyone protected under the act is treated “favourably and without bias”. This indicates that any service you are providing for non-disabled people, you should therefore be providing a similar or an ‘equivalent to’ for those who are disabled.
As such, if you are providing systems for safety such as fire alarms for hearing people, there should be an equivalent system in place for individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Similarly, if your building has PA systems installed, that are used to relay important information, that information should also be available to all people.
Whether you are constructing a new building or refurbishing an existing building, these regulations set out all of the requirements you must follow in order to provide a safe and accessible establishment. Within these guidelines, are sections about providing fire alarms for Deaf and hard of hearing people, as well as sections on providing refuge areas and communication systems for those who are physically disabled.
British & European Standards
Whilst these are not the law, they are almost promoted to being laws, due to those equality acts because that tells us to install like-for-like safety systems for all. With that in mind, if we are installing a fire alarm system for hearing people, that meets the British Standards: BS5839 or European Standards: EN54-23, it is incredibly important that those standards are followed when we are installing a fire alarm systems for Deaf and hard of hearing people.
To gain a better understanding of the barriers faced by disabled people and the various solutions available to provide equal access to emergency evacuations, contact Howard Da Costa to book yourself into one of our free online CPD seminars.
OR if you need help with fire safety systems and compliance within any of your buildings, give us call us on: 01332 363981