Do I require an evacuation scheme?
As the OWNER/OCCUPIER of a building, you may require an evacuation scheme if the building is used for any one or more of the following:
- The gathering together, for any purpose, of 100 or more persons
- Providing employment facilities for 10 or more persons
- Providing accommodation for more than 6 persons
- Storing or processing hazardous substances in quantities exceeding the prescribed minimum amounts
- Providing early childhood facilities
- Providing nursing, medical or geriatric care
- Providing specialised care for people with disabilities
- Providing accommodation for persons under lawful detention
What is an "evacuation procedure or scheme" ?
The simplest explanation would be, a plan designed to remove people from a dangerous place to a place of safety. It is a way of ensuring people evacuate promptly, safely and orderly in an emergency, also helping people to remain calm and reducing chances of someone being hurt while evacuating.
Evacuation procedures are the "What we do?" and "How we do it?" etc in the case of a fire evacuation. This can be as simple as a notice on the wall in a prominent place to advise the occupants of a building what they must do in the event of a fire emergency and how to get to a place of safety out side the building.
An evacuation scheme is similar as it must also include fire procedures but a scheme differs in that it must in addition provide information on how the evacuation process will be managed and an application must be submitted to and approved by FENZ (Fire & Emergency NZ).
Some buildings may not require an approved evacuation scheme, but may still need to have evacuation procedures in place. If a scheme is not required, you may need to have procedures in place but, do not have to submit anything to the fire service. A schedule of buildings and their requirements are included in the Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2018.
An evacuation scheme includes things like:
- What to do if you discover a fire
- What to do if you are warned of a fire
- Who are the Fire Wardens in the building
- What is the role and duties of a Fire Warden
- How to evacuate from a building to a safe place
- How everyone is accounted for during an evacuation
- How persons with disabilities will be assisted during a evacuation
- Where Fire Action notices are located in the building
- How an evacuation scheme needs to be maintained
- How to safely operate fire fighting equipment in the building