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Last edited 08 Oct 2020
Building evacuation is the process of making sure everyone inside a building gets out safely and in a timely and controlled manner in the event of an emergency, such as a fire. Buildings commonly use equipment such as fire alarms, exit signage, emergency lighting and emergency escape routes to facilitate evacuations.
Multi-storey buildings may also be equipped with evacuation chairs (also known as escape chairs, disabled evacuation chairs, stairway evacuation chairs, fire evacuation chairs or evac chairs) strategically located in protected areas such as corridors or stairways. These devices can be used to assist people with limited mobility (due to an injury, mental health condition, pregnancy or other physical condition) so they can use the stairwell and exit the building safely.
 What is an evacuation chair?
An evacuation chair is a lightweight device that can assist a person with limited mobility to use a stairway. The device is meant to be operated by one person and should require minimal training. It is designed to reduce the amount of heavy lifting that could be required in the event of an evacuation.
 Legal requirements
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) states that it is up to the 'responsible person' (the person in control of the building) to provide a fire safety risk assessment. This assessment should include an emergency evacuation plan along with any evacuation chair requirements.
The assessment should be designed for all people (including those with special mobility requirements - such as visitors) who are likely to be on the premises. This is particularly important in public buildings, healthcare facilities, schools, care homes and other structures that support people with disabilities. In these types of facilities, it is up to the responsible person to make sure the evacuation chairs are in place and in proper working order.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Building evacuation.
- Evacuating vulnerable and dependent people from buildings in an emergency FB 52.
- Protected escape route.
- Protected stairway.
- Responsible person.
- Risk assessment under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
- The need for company fire risk assessments.
- The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
- Wheelchair user.
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