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Guide to Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs)

Updated: May 5

a crowd of people walking towards the emergency exit

PEEP stands for Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan. These plans give specific instruction on the methods of evacuation, specifically for people with disabilities and those with additional needs.


 

In this Article:



 

What does PEEP stand for?


Peep is an acronym for Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan:


P - Personal

E - Emergency

E - Evacuation

P - Plan


 

What is a PEEP?


Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans are used in the event of an emergency evacuation, they outline the procedures that should be followed to assist individuals with disabilities in getting to safety.


These evacuation plans are used in many different settings where there are individuals with disabilities. Some locations that require peeps might include educational institutions, healthcare facilities, workplaces and public buildings.


PEEPS help to ensure everyone is prepared for an emergency evacuation and have correct procedures in place to ensure their safety, regardless of physical ability.


 

What Should be Considered when Creating a PEEP?


There are a few factors that should be considered when creating a PEEP to ensure everyone's personal safety needs are met. Getting someone with a disability out of a crowded building can be a complicated task, this is why PEEPs are so vital to ensure evacuation plans can be carried out safely for all those on a premises.


The Individuals Needs

Individuals that will need assistance during an emergency evacuation should be identified, this could include people with mobility or visual impairments. The needs of the individual should be recorded and assistance put in place to ensure they are able to exit the building during an emergency evacuation.


Getting to the Safety Point

The route to the safety point should be assessed and any possible obstructions removed. For people who use mobility equipment such as wheelchairs, the route should be accessible with ramps or lifting equipment where required.


Is Equipment Required?

Some people with moving impairments might be unable to navigate stairs without having some assistive devices. These devices should be kept at hand so that they can be used to help evacuate the individual in the event of an emergency. Some people may require medication regularly so this should be considered when putting together an evacuation plan.


Emergency Communication Devices

When installing emergency communication systems it is important to consider those who might require different forms of stimulus to become aware that there is an emergency situation. For example if the only form of fire warning is an alarm system, someone who is deaf would not be alerted to the current emergency.


Is Assistance Required?

Assistance might be needed for some individuals to evacuate from a building safely. It should be ensured that this assistance is provided to the individual in an emergency.


Is Everyone Aware of the Procedures?

Anyone involved in a personal emergency evacuation plan should be made aware of the procedures they should follow and what role they play in an emergency evacuation. Whether it be assisting others, or ensuring you have the equipment you personally need to evacuate safely.


Does Everyone Agree on the Plan?

It is important that the individuals included in the evacuation plan are in agreement over the systems put in place. This avoids any confusion when an emergency occurs and ensures everyone is following the same procedures.


 

an exit sign showing a man and some stairs

Industries that require PEEPs


Any industry that involves people with personal requirements in regards to their mobility should have PEEPs in place. This ensures that the emergency plan is accessible to everyone on the premises.


PEEPs in Fire Safety

PEEPs play a vital role in fire safety by making sure people with disabilities or special needs are able to evacuate safely if there is a fire. In order to ensure everyone in a premises is able to follow the evacuation plan, each individual's needs should be assessed if they may have difficulty getting to safety in the event of a fire.


If an individual has been identified as having difficulties following the evacuation plan, tailored procedures should be put in place to allow them to safety evacuate in an emergency situation.


PEEPs in Confined Spaces

When working in confined spaces, PEEPs play a large role in ensuring the work can be carried out safely. An emergency evacuation can be more difficult to undertake when working in confined space so the plan should be created with that in mind.


There can also be additional risks when working in confined spaces making the need for an emergency evacuation more common than in other situations.


PEEPs in Care

It is very common for people in residential care facilities to have mobility issues or disabilities, making PEEPs an essential part in ensuring the safety of each individual.


Hearing and visual impairments should also be considered for the following reasons:


  1. Individuals with visual and hearing impairments can have difficulty being alerted of an emergency situation.

  2. These disabilities can make navigating and evacuating of a building significantly more difficult.


Evacuation procedures should be tailored for each individual depending on their specific needs. For example you might appoint someone to be responsible for personally alerting certain residents in the event of an emergency evacuation.


PEEPs in Education

Facilities like schools and universities have a high population of students in concentrated areas making safe evacuations particularly difficult. PEEPs should be created for individuals with disabilities or specific needs to address any factors that might make evacuation difficult.


People with disabilities should have appropriate procedures in place to evacuate each room they might be using. This is to ensure their safety in the event of an emergency evacuation.


 

a disabled man with a prosthetic leg walking down a corridor

People that require a PEEP


Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans should be created for any individual that might require assistance if an emergency evacuation takes place.


Some people who may require peeps include:


People with Mobility Issues

Individuals who have difficulty moving might require additional assistance during an emergency evacuation, making it essential that equipment or personal assistance is provided to help them exit the building in an evacuation scenario.


Those with Cognitive Impairments

People with mental conditions might have difficulty following procedures during an emergency evacuation or even struggle to interpret the emergency alarm. Usually someone present is responsible for ensuring the person with the cognitive disability is able to safely exit the premises when required.


Deaf & Blind People

People with sensory issues might have a difficult time following an evacuation procedure and should be considered when designing an alarm system, visual alerts should be put in place to alert those with hearing issues. Similarly without being able to see the evacuation route signs, people with visual impairments will have difficulty following the evacuation procedure.


Elderly People

It is common for older people to have mobility issues and age related conditions, making PEEPs essential to ensure they have the support they need during emergency evacuations.


Pregnant Women

Pregnant women should also be considered when creating PEEPs as mobility issues become more common as they get further into their pregnancy. There might be additional safety measures put in place to provide more comfort to pregnant women, this can reduce stress to the baby if an emergency evacuation takes place.


Children

Children can be difficult to evacuate in emergency situations especially those with disabilities. Support from teachers or caregivers should be provided for children to ensure they are evacuated safely.


 

Who is Responsible for a PEEP?


Building owners, employers and managers are generally responsible for personal emergency evacuation plans and ensuring the wellbeing of those they have a responsibility of safety towards.


Someone should be appointed to hold responsibility for the emergency evacuation procedure to avoid confusion and any oversight.


A safety officer can be appointed to be responsible for the safety of vulnerable persons emergency evacuations. This person should develop personalised emergency evacuation plans for all those who have disabilities or special needs.


 

women being evacuated from a building

Creating an Emergency Evacuation Plan


PEEP's is a part of ensuring everyone is able to evacuate the building safely in an emergency. A comprehensive evacuation plan should be created compromising the safe evacuation procedures for those with and without mobility issues or disabilities.


When creating an Emergency Evacuation plan the following should be considered:


Assess Hazards

The building should be assessed for any hazards or risks present, this should be recorded to be used as a reference for creating control measures to remove or reduce these hazards.


Establish Emergency Exit Routes

Emergency exits should be identified and safe routes clearly marked/signed to show people the designated emergency evacuation route. The emergency exit route should be well lit and easily accessible without obstruction.


Identify Assembly Points

Assembly points should be assigned in a safe location so that people have somewhere to gather in an emergency. These assembly points should be a safe distance from the building and emergency responders should be able to easily find them.


Evacuation Procedures

Evacuation procedures should be created to give clear steps that everyone should follow during an emergency. This should include procedures to follow when raising alarms, notifying emergency services, evacuating people and assembly points.


Provide Training

It is important that individuals are made aware of the evacuation procedures and properly trained to fulfil their role during an emergency. This could include training for people who are designated fire marshals or those who hold responsibility for carrying out regular checks on alarm systems and emergency safety equipment.


Install Emergency Equipment

It is important that emergency equipment is installed to aid people during an emergency, whether it is to alert people or to assist in their evacuation there are many types of equipment that can be used to save lives.


A few types of emergency equipment could include:


  • Fire Alarms

  • Emergency Lighting

  • Sprinkler Systems

  • Fire Extinguishers

  • Evacuation Chairs

  • Illuminated Exit Signs


For this equipment to work properly when needed it is important regular inspection and maintenance is undertaken. It is mandatory for safety equipment to be properly maintained and is covered by multiple pieces of UK health and safety legislation.


The following regulations provide instruction on proper inspection, testing and maintenance of safety equipment in the UK:



Conduct Drills

Emergency evacuation drills should be undertaken at regular intervals so that individuals are prepared during an emergency. Any issues with the emergency evacuation plan should be identified during these drills and should as realistic as possible.


Regularly Review and Update

The evacuation procedures should be regularly reviewed and updated especially if there are any major changes to the premises that may affect the existing plan. Any changes in a persons mobility or cognitive state should be kept note of. This is so additional safety measures can be put in place to ensure they are able to follow the emergency evacuation procedures.


 

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