With the diverse populations of people entering and exiting your commercial space, it is important to consider individuals with disabilities in your fire preparedness measures. With half of high-rise fires occurring in offices, apartments, hotels, and patient care facilities, it is imperative to remember those who are blind, deaf, or who have mobility problems. By following these steps, you can begin making your set of fire protection systems more inclusive.
- Install Strobe Smoke Alarms: When selecting a commercial smoke alarm, choose a model that lights up in addition to making sound. This will alert those who are deaf or hearing impaired that there is an emergency.
- Plan An Obstacle-Free Evacuation: Make your evacuation plan as inclusive as possible. A clear way to get out of the building is essential in any emergency. For people who are blind or mobility-impaired, it is important that your evacuation route is easy to follow. Be sure to keep the route free of any major obstacles.
- Assist People In Wheelchairs: United Spinal Association has thorough guidelines for fire safety for individuals in wheelchairs. Educate yourself on these guidelines and be prepared to assist in the case of an emergency. Be sure that your wheelchair ramps are up to date.
- Train Your Employees: Make sure that your employees are prepared to assist people with disabilities in the event of a fire. Go over communication best practices, as well as the logistical details of how to physically assist someone. Make sure every employee has memorized evacuation protocols. It would be best to hire a professional to conduct this training.
- Keep Up To Date: As always, be sure that your fire protection systems are up to date. Schedule regular fire alarm and fire sprinkler inspections to ensure that everything is working as it should. This maintenance is the bottom line in handling any and all fire emergencies.
When forming your business’ evacuation plan, it is important to be as inclusive as possible. Think beyond your own experience and imagine how a disability could increase a fire’s potential danger. When in doubt, be sure to consult a professional on these inclusive policies, as they are vitally important to your business and its customers.