Disabled Refuge Points – what you need to know!
Certain buildings will require disabled refuge points to be in place. Building Control / Architects will specific these points during the design and build phase but you may not need to use them . . .
Let me go a bit deeper!
So, if your building is not occupied by members of the public and you have confirm that there are no mobility impaired staff, the disabled refuge points are not really required. An office is a good example of this type of occupancy.
But imagine you run a hotel, cinema, shopping centre or a general business where the public have general access or where a staff is mobility impaired . . .then you need to read on!
It is worth noted at this stage that the refuge point is available to be used by “mobility impaired” people as well as “disabled”. There is a distinct difference! An Elderly person, staff with a broken leg, or a heavily pregnant woman are mobility impaired, but not disabled!
So what do you need to consider; firstly check the fire risk assessment to see what the occupancy type (to see if you need disabled refuge points) !
Next, ensure there is a place where the disabled refuge point can be correctly located. There are strict rules about this, such as the need to protect the space from fire.
Two-way communications must be in place to enable staff to tell the refuge occupants that help is on the way. If you have one or two disabled refuge points, then walkie talkie radios may suffice or a new installation is on its way;
Then assessing the need to have a disabled refuge chair may be required. Check the link to the Globalex range which is a good guide;
Following the chair needs to come the training on the operation of the chair with the staff! A specific course is required to show them the operation and safe use
Lastly comes the drills! Carrying out practice evacuation drills is key to ensure you are meeting your obligations for the evacuation of mobility and disabled users of your building!