Send us news by text, start your message Globe News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Wirral launches emergency evacuation scheme for people with disabilities
11:05am Friday 31st August 2012 in News
AN increase in disabled sports men and women using council-run gyms and leisure centres has led to the development of a new programme to evacuate people safely from public buildings in an emergency.
Wirral Council has been working with people with disabilities and their carers to design the new system.
Now the "Disabled People’s Evacuation Programme" is to be launched at a high-profile event featuring Britain’s greatest Paralympian, Lady Tanni Grey-Thompson, at the Floral Pavilion next month.
The programme is designed specifically to enable people to be evacuated from a building without the need for specialist techniques, training, lengthy pre-planning or preparation.
Interest in it so strong that there are plans to extend the system to other public bodies and organisations across the country.
Councillor Chris Meaden, Wirral’s cabinet member for culture, tourism and leisure, said: "Over the last 16 years, Wirral Council has spent around £10m making its buildings easier for disabled people to use.
"It’s fantastic more disabled people are using our leisure centres, for example, but we have to ensure that if an emergency happens, we have the capacity to get people out safely and quickly."
Her colleague, Cllr Anne McArdle, cabinet member for adult social care and public health, explained that most existing techniques rely on specialist techniques or equipment, such as special evacuation chairs.
She said: "One of the reasons this programme is different and so effective is that it doesn't rely on either of these being available; the evacuation is designed around what the disabled individual is able to do for themselves and what assistance they will require.
"This means managers don't have to worry if there is enough equipment available or sufficient numbers of people who are specially trained to use the equipment in the event of an emergency.
"They can instead use easy techniques that require no specialist training or preparation."
Organisations wanting more information should contact Ged Smyth from Wirral’s corporate equalities team on 0151 691 8217 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Disabled Peoples’ Evacuation Programme will be launched at the Access Association’s annual meeting and conference on September 25, at the Floral Pavilion Theatre and Conference Centre, New Brighton.
The conference includes guest speakers including Baroness Grey-Thompson who will talk about the legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the future of sport in Great Britain.