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Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans: A Critical Focus for High-Rise Residential Buildings.

Remembering The Grenfell Tragedy and The Urgent Need for Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans in High-Rises.

In the aftermath of the devastating Grenfell Tower fire on June 14, 2017, which claimed 72 lives and highlighted significant systemic failings in fire safety, the importance of robust Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) in high-rise residential buildings has become more evident than ever. This tragedy underscored the catastrophic consequences of inadequate emergency preparedness and evacuation facilities, particularly for residents with mobility issues.

Understanding Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs)

PEEPs are customised plans designed to ensure that all residents, including those with disabilities or mobility impairments, can safely evacuate a building in the event of an emergency.

These plans are crucial in high-rise structures where evacuation can be complex and challenging. A PEEP addresses individual needs and includes details about the type of assistance and equipment required to evacuate a person safely.

The importance of these plans was dramatically demonstrated during the Grenfell Tower fire, where the lack of proper evacuation procedures for all residents contributed significantly to the tragedy and it highlighted the dire consequences of lacking comprehensive Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) in high-rise residential buildings.

The inquiry into the Grenfell disaster revealed that the London Fire Brigade’s knowledge of the building was severely outdated, which severely compromised the efficiency and effectiveness of the firefighting efforts.

More critically, the absence of PEEPs meant that there was no clear strategy to evacuate residents who were mobility-impaired or required specific assistance during an emergency.

This failure was not just a lapse in implementing safety measures but a fundamental flaw in the emergency response strategy that should have included personalised evacuation plans for each resident based on their unique needs.

The inquiry criticised the role of building management and emergency services for not prioritising the implementation of essential safety measures, including PEEPs, which are crucial for ensuring that all residents can exit safely in a crisis.

The lessons learned from Grenfell Tower demonstrate a pressing need to re-evaluate and enhance the safety protocols in high-rise buildings, specifically through the development and regular updating of PEEPs.

An effective PEEP should involve:

Assessment of Individual Needs: Identifying residents who require special assistance during an evacuation.

Clear Evacuation Strategies: Outlining specific routes and methods for safe exit based on the building’s layout and the resident’s specific needs.

Regular Updates and Drills: Ensuring that the plans are up-to-date and that residents are familiar with the evacuation procedures through regular drills.

We showcased our commitment to advanced evacuation solutions at The Health & Safety Event 2024 held at the NEC, where we launched two ground breaking evacuation device models.

The LG2004 T-Lift: This innovative model can transport a person and their wheelchair up and down stairs without the need for physical lifting. With a maximum weight capacity of 300KG and operable by a single person, the T-Lift is a game-changer in emergency evacuation, providing a dignified and safe method for those in wheelchairs to evacuate.

The Gecko: Designed for versatility, the Gecko is effective on straight, spiral, and flared stairs. Its anti-tilt feature significantly reduces the physical burden on operators, supporting a maximum capacity of 180kg.

This device is an excellent solution for buildings with complex stair configurations.

For a closer look at their range of products, visit their products page:

The Grenfell Tower tragedy and other similar incidents around the world highlight the urgent need for improvements in building management and fire safety protocols.

The Role of Technology and Management in Evacuation Safety

Facilities management companies play a crucial role and are tasked with conducting thorough and regular fire risk assessments that consider the need for advanced evacuation devices like those offered by Evaccess.

The ongoing risks posed by factors like combustible cladding further emphasise the need for a proactive approach to building safety.

The Evaccess Approach: Enhancing Safety with Expert Solutions

As we continue to face ongoing safety challenges in high-rise buildings, the development and implementation of effective PEEP’s, coupled with innovative evacuation technologies, are essential. Companies like Evaccess are at the forefront of this vital work, providing a wealth of experience that can significantly enhance safety and save lives.

It is imperative for building managers, regulatory bodies, and the wider community to work together to ensure that history does not repeat itself. Through diligent planning, technological adoption, and community engagement, we can strive for a safer future for all residents of high-rise buildings.

 Step 1: Consultation and Site Evaluation

Evaccess begins with a detailed consultation and site survey to assess your current setup. This includes evaluating any existing Assisted Evacuation Devices (AEDs), operational responsibilities, the intended users, and stair types—including considerations for spiral staircases and historic buildings. Evaccess will recommend the most suitable evacuation chairs and stair climbers based on these factors, ensuring they can be operated by a single person and minimise manual handling.

 Step 2: Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs)

Developing robust PEEPs is crucial as we have already discussed. Evaccess will ensure that the correct AED is provided, complementing the specific needs identified in the personal emergency evacuation plan.

Step 3: Training

After equipment selection, comprehensive training is provided to operators. The programs delivered by Evaccess include “Train the Trainer” and “Operator Training,” ensuring that staff are proficient in using the evacuation devices.

For a closer look at their training options, visit their training section:

Step 4: Equipment Servicing

Regular servicing ensures that all equipment remains in optimal condition. The experienced engineers at Evaccess perform maintenance checks and encourage customers to regularly test their equipment to pre-empt any issues, from battery faults to external damages.

The Evaccess Commitment

The Evaccess team is dedicated to supporting you by offering guidance and answering any queries. By choosing Evaccess, facilities managers can meet and exceed modern standards for safety and accessibility, promoting a culture of inclusivity and preparedness in building management.


Call Evaccess for advice and information.

0121 444 3690

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