When is an Evacuation Chair a Part of Your Business Emergency Plan?

An emergency isn’t something you want to dwell on, but it’s a part of your duty as an employer to consider it carefully. Your employees and visitors will look to you for guidance should a fire, earthquake, or some other kind of natural disaster require you to evacuate the premises. It’s important you have a plan in place to help everyone exit to safety, including those with reduced mobility. 

Your evacuation plan must be inclusive to be successful. That’s why it’s so important to consider adding an evacuation chair to your plans. It helps those with mobility challenges to descend stairs in an emergency quickly and safely.  

Which Businesses Need an Evacuation Chair? 

All businesses must make the appropriate provisions for safe emergency evacuation. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small outfit of 10 or a multi-conglomerate with thousands of employees. If you work in a building with more than one story, your company fits the criteria for evacuation chairs. 

Why? Because in a typical emergency, elevators may be out of service. This requires employees and visitors to exit by the staircase, which may be a challenge to those with mobility issues. 

Who May Require an Evacuation Chair?

Anyone with mobility issues may need help descending stairs. This may include the following groups: 

  • Seniors
  • Disabled people
  • Injured individuals
  • Pregnant people
  • Individuals with mobility tools 

Together, these individuals may make up a larger portion of your workforce than you realize. It’s important you do what you can to keep them safe by offering accessible points of egress during emergencies. 

It’s also your legal obligation. Legislation in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America states you must ensure people can escape safely during an emergency. 

There are also disability discrimination laws that may factor into your plans. You could get into hot water with disability advocacy groups in your area should you fail to plan correctly.  

What Do You Need to Consider? 

Ensuring you have an evacuation chair is the first step, but it’s far from the last. To make sure you understand how to use them in a safe and dignified manner, you must consider the following: 

  • Risks: You may need to invest in at least one chair for every story, or you may need more. Carry out a risk assessment plan to understand the possible obstacles to a safe exit. Get familiar with the labour board and health and safety organizations in your area to ensure your strategy is up to snuff. 
  • Training: You can invest in the best safety equipment in the world, but it’s useless if no one knows how to use it. Make sure your employees understand how to use evacuation chairs properly, so they can help their coworkers in an emergency. 
  • Inspections. Regularly check equipment is up-to-date and in working order. 

Bottom Line

If you want to keep your employees, customers, and visitors safe, it’s time to think about your evacuation plans. Are they accessible? If the answer is no, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Refer to the laws and adjust your plans appropriately.