A NEW edition of the Simultaneous Evacuation Guide, coordinated by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) in partnership with a range of stakeholders, has just been published and now replaces the third edition published in October 2020.
Written by fire safety professionals and released Thursday, August 18, the Simultaneous Evacuation Guide is intended to actively discourage the continued and prolonged use of “standby standby.” The latest edition brings a number of updates and improvements to discourage building owners from having staff on site where they may not be needed.
Ultimately, the main objectives of the simultaneous evacuation guidelines are:
*ensure that building managers fully understand the decision-making process before concluding that a change in evacuation strategy is necessary
*describe a clearer focus on resident engagement
*end the risk-averse “one-size-fits-all” style application of on-site staffing (i.e. “watch watches” or evacuation management) when disproportionate in relation to the risk
Mark Hardingham, Chairman of the NFCC, said: “After consultation on the project with a range of stakeholders and tenant groups, over 500 comments were received. The new edition is much clearer on the management of evacuations. Data collected from the fire and rescue services in England shows that the number of buildings [of all heights] known for implementing a ‘standby watch’ dropped nearly 63% between June 2021 and March 2022, from 773 to 288. I’m really pleased to see this number drop and hope this trend continues .
Dennis Davis, Chief Executive of the Fire Sector Federation, added: “The decision-making process to be followed before any change to a building’s evacuation strategy should always be proportionate, duly reflecting the risk presented on the basis of holistic consideration including fire risk assessment. We hope this new edition will help ‘responsible persons’ and fire risk assessors to act proportionately in ensuring they are following the most up-to-date guidance and, in doing so, to take the right steps before change their evacuation strategy. ”
Range of risk mitigations
Gavin Tomlinson, Chair of the NFCC’s Protection Review Committee, explained: “We have repeatedly asked building owners to consider a wide range of risk mitigations, including the installation of alarms fire commons, to reduce or completely remove reliance on ‘Waking Watch’s and on-site personnel. This is the clear expectation for buildings where remediation cannot be undertaken in the short term. »
Tomlinson concluded: “I am pleased that the fourth edition of the Simultaneous Evacuation Guide reinforces the need to support the safety of all residents when advice from the competent risk assessor confirms that a change in evacuation strategy is necessary, while ensuring the measures in place are proportionate and supported by a remediation plan as soon as possible.
*Access copies of the fourth edition on line