Emergency evacuation procedure for students with disabilities
Special arrangements have to be put into effect when it is necessary to evacuate wheelchair users, people on crutches, and frail and/or elderly or heavily pregnant women either from above or below ground-floor level. Should a panic ensue, a person with restricted mobility might unduly delay the evacuation of others up or down staircases and may well be swept aside by the more able-bodied.
- Such persons should be evacuated horizontally (by a colleague, lecturer or member of library staff, for example) to a staircase landing and be allowed to wait there while a message is sent ahead to the emergency controller (duty attendant) by a colleague, lecturer or member of library staff, etc. to inform Birkbeck's reception desk staff of the situation.
- Whenever possible, a member of staff or a colleague should wait with the disabled person to provide continued reassurance.
- All staircase landings are protected by fire resisting doors. Accordingly, disabled persons and those accompanying them waiting there for assistance with evacuation are in places of relative safety.
- If the staircase clears while waiting, then those persons whose disability allows them to should start to ascend/descend at their own pace.
- Information on whether an evacuation will actually be necessary will then be brought back by trained Birkbeck staff or fire brigade officers to the disabled person/people, and they will then arrange an evacuation if this is required.
On no account should any attempt be made to use the lifts, with the exception of the main and extension lifts at Malet Street and the lift at Gordon Square, which have been specially constructed to evacuate disabled persons safely.
If you have a disability (permanent or temporary) that may delay your recognition of the fire alarm or your response to it, you should let the Disability Office know, so that they can refer you to the Birkbeck Safety Officer to arrange a personal emergency evacuation plan.
Birkbeck operates a vibrating pager alert system for profoundly deaf staff and students in the main Birkbeck building.
If an alarm sounds in Malet Street, these pagers will activate automatically. Anyone with a hearing impairment that prevents them from recognising the fire alarm should contact the Birkbeck Health and Safety Officer.