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Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP)

Do I need Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans?

Current fire safety legislation states that the Responsible Person must create an evacuation plan that encompasses everyone in the building.  This must include any disabled people who are normally present.  The evacuation plan should not rely upon the Fire Service to make it work.  The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 does not affect this requirement.  In fact if provision for the safe evacuation of disabled people is not evident, this may be viewed as discrimination.

The primary aim of a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan is simply to make sure that a disabled person can evacuate without assistance.  If that isn't possible then the plan can be expanded to accommodate the person by documenting how they can evacuate with assistance.

The secondary aim is to protect the business.  Disabilities are not always obvious.  Someone maybe perfectly able to navigate around a building during a normal working day.  But may struggle if the lighting goes from fully on, to just emergency lighting.  A similar example maybe someone who always uses the lift, but secretly knows they they cannot use the stairs.  In an evacuation the lift isn't available, so they'd be stuck.  The big issue with both these examples is that the Responsible Person might be liable if these where killed or injured in a fire.  Because they didn't ask the questions about how this person can be evacuated.

So yes, every business needs one since you have to ask everyone the same questions about how they are able to evacuate.  Firstly to protect them.  Secondly to be able to evidence that.

What's the process for Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans?

This is our process, but others may do it in a different way or order.

(1) - Complete a Fire Risk Assessment - This details all the elements that go into making the building safe in terms of fire.  Everything in relation to fire safety relies upon what this document says.

(2) - Create a building layout plan for each floor - These are not normally too expensive at around £200-£300.  You'll need one since the Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan will need to highlight all escape routes, safe refuges, fire safe lifts, staircases, evacuation chairs etc.

(3) - Create a Fire Emergency Plan - This is a document detailing how fires are detected, raising the alarm, action staff should take, escape routes, where the assembly point is, what to do with fire extinguishers, location of safety hazards, list of trained staff, fire fighting equipment available, any variations to the plan, backup arrangements, list of Responsible People etc.  Think of this as the process that able bodied people will follow.  Also it will also start to highlight areas of the building that certain disabled people may need to avoid.

(4) - Create a General Emergency Evacuation Plan - This builds upon the Fire Emergency Plan by adding what you are going to do if you let in the general public.  Who can have any number and types of disabilities.  Whilst this plan only addresses this generally it does highlight issue around certain disabilities together with certain areas of the building.

(5) - Perform a survey or all employees - Some advisers say that a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan should be initiated by the individual.  But this makes no sense since firstly they are very unlikely to know that such a thing as a PEEP even exists.  Secondly they may have disabilities which they don't want to mention.  Thirdly they may fear this process will result in either a limitation or termination of their employment.  Fourthly it's the Responsible Persons duties to ensure everyone in the building is safe.  The Responsible Persons are liable for a criminal conviction, unlimited fine and/or imprisonment if they fail to do this.

To ensure the survey is completed and we can give everyone the best chance to be safe we allow the respondents 4 main answers:

They have no disabilities

They have disabilities and are happy to share them with the Responsible People

They have disabilities but don't want to share them with the Responsible People

They refuse to complete a PEEP

The last two are the most complicated to deal with.  Our way to handle them is to explain that unless they consent to share the information then the Responsible People and the company cannot be held liable if they are injured or killed in a fire.  If still they insist then we'll document the response and then the only positive outcome is that at least the company has complied with the law.

(6) - Complete an PEEP for each relevant person - Taking all of the above into account, we then create the plans.  This will take into account how their disability limits their ability to evacuate unaided, refuge points they can use in an emergency, areas of the building they must avoid, any assistance required either by others or equipment required, and finally the duty of care to themselves.

(7) - Discuss the various PEEPs in the Fire Warden Training - Trained Fire Wardens need to see the PEEPs to understand each persons limitations.  Since it will be the Fire Wardens that are responsible for making sure that anyone with disabilities has evacuated the building or is being assisted in doing so.  During our Fire Warden training we'll go through how each person with a PEEP will need help and any specialist equipment (e.g. evacuation chair) or exit routes they will need to take.


Frequency Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who is responsible for completing a PEEP

Whoever are the Responsible Persons for the premises.

How often should a PEEP be updated?

Annually, or when the persons conditions change (for better or worse).

What happens if a designated Fire Warden is not present to assist an individual

Sufficient fire wardens should be trained so that this is extremely unlikely.

Does completing a PEEP survey mean that we are going to have to upgrade our building to account for some disabled employees?

The Equality Act 2010 states there is a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled persons.  So if the plan highlights a small change that isn't costly, maybe such as a flashing light in addition to an alarm siren, then possibly yes.  But as far as major construction changes like ramps or a fire rated lift, that's very unlikely.  Typically most issues can be mitigated by assigning one or more fire wardens to help someone in an evacuation.  Or taking other simple steps like limiting where they can go in the building or letting them work from an easy to evacuate room.


Hopefully you can see that PEEPs are not a simple document you create in isolation.  They are dependant on many other aspects of fire safety.  Fire Safety Specialists are here to help make you 100% compliant with all regulations. Please call us if you have a requirement or need more detailed information on any of the above areas. Or check out two of our other popular posts:

Duties of the Responsible Person

Fire Safety Training

Does my business need a Fire Risk Assessment?

What does a Fire Risk Assessment cost?

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