The need for safe evacuation for people with disability was recognized in the recent update of Australian Standard (AS) 3745 -2002 Emergency control organization and procedures for buildings, structures and workplaces, to the current AS 3745-2010 Planning for Emergencies in the Workplace.
Clause 188.8.131.52 of AS 3745-2010 states:
The evacuation arrangements for persons with a disability shall be considered in the development of the emergency response procedures.
Clause 4.2.11 of AS 3745-2010 also states:
When developing emergency response procedures, consideration shall be given to occupants and visitors who for one reason or another may need assistance or are unlikely to be able to act optimally in an emergency.
AS 3745-2010 now requires that:
- Evacuation arrangements for persons with a disability shall be considered in the development of the emergency response procedures;
- That the emergency procedures consider all occupants and visitors who may for any reason require assistance during an emergency.
The Standard also recommends that:
- A current list of names, workplaces and other relevant information about occupants with a disability should be kept in the Chief Warden’s control area.
- Suitable strategies should be discussed with those people with disability occupying the building and a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) is developed for each of the persons.
- Should the use of lifts for evacuation during a fire emergency have regulatory approval, procedural information should be included in the PEEP.
In terms of emergency exit signage, Clause 3.5 of AS 3745 states that evacuation diagrams must be displayed in all facilities which include a number of key features of the building, including a representation of the floor or area and include the locations of designated exits in green, refuges (if present), location of assembly area, locations of manual alarm call points and any warden intercommunication points (WIP phones).
The ‘informative’ only example Evacuation Diagrams provided in Appendix E include pictograms for fire equipment and emergency exits, in traditional “EXIT” format and an adapted Running Man exit sign style. No reference to accessible exits, accessible egress paths, or distinguishing between none-accessible and accessible exits is made.
 Standards Australia 2010b, Australian Standard AS3745-2010, Planning for emergencies in facilities, SAI Global, Sydney, pp.24-25, 52-53