Guidance to support a temporary change to a simultaneous evacuation strategy in purpose-built blocks of flats

21/10/2020

Following extensive consultation, the National Fire Chiefs Council-led (NFCC) stakeholder group have updated the guidance on simultaneous evacuation and introduced some key changes.

The main edits advise consultation with residents and leaseholders to explore cost and benefit options, emphasises the need to consider the installation of common fire alarms where measures are now, or are likely to be in place for the longer terms, and provides a clear distinction between waking watch and evacuation management as separate roles. It also emphasises that residents can carry out waking watches and evacuation management duties so long as they are appropriately trained.

It also contains new definitions for ‘short term’ and ‘temporary’; the former being the time required to formulate a long-term plan, and no longer than 12 months, and the latter being non-permanent measures implemented to mitigate an unacceptable risk in a building, as an interim measure, adopted for the safety of residents while works to rectify the identified fire safety failings are carried out.

This updated guidance means that all Responsible Persons for affected buildings should review their fire risk assessment to ensure the fire safety arrangements including the interim measures in place are appropriate. Such a change to the evacuation strategy should only be considered when all other interim risk mitigation measures, have been found to be insufficient in managing the risk. The guidance sets out measures to support the immediate safety of residents, whilst fully accepting that the principle way to reduce risk is to urgently remediate the non-compliant external wall systems.

As a fully contributing member of the NFCC, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service supports and adopts a number of position statements. You can view the Simultaneous Evacuation Guidance on our website.

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