Evacuation plans for employees with disability

Before creating or adapting your organisation’s evacuation plans, have discussions with your employees with disability. These employees often have a strong knowledge of any special assistance, equipment and adjustments they might need. Fire wardens should be aware of any employees with mobility impairments in their work area.

Wheelchair users

Advise local emergency personnel that there are wheelchair users in the workplace, particularly if your organisation is located in a high-rise building. Do not lift a person out of their wheelchair and carry them. There should be adequate space within fire-isolated stairwells for a wheelchair user to turn around. Fire-isolated stairwells are protected from fire and smoke for up to two hours and can be a safe refuge area. Specialist evacuation chairs and other equipment are available for installation in business premises. 

People who are deaf or hard of hearing

A flashing light alarm should be installed in work areas, including bathrooms. If no flashing alarm is installed, a co-worker should be assigned to assist a worker who is deaf or hard of hearing in the event of an evacuation. 

People who have vision impairment

Install tactile ground surface indicators (TGSIs) on the approach to fire stairs. These indicate a change in terrain for people who are blind or vision impaired. Brightly coloured step edges aid people with vision impairment and are recommended for use in fire stairwells.

Anxiety disorders or other mental illness

Emergency situations can be particularly stressful for people with anxiety disorders or other mental illnesses. These people should be assigned a ‘buddy’ to assist them in emergency situations. 

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