Evacuation for Retail

Evacuation of shopping centres

The UK has some of the largest shopping centres in Europe. They are multi-storey buildings that see thousands of visitors a day, so it is crucial for shopping centre property managers to consider how they would safely evacuate shoppers in the event of an emergency.

In shopping centres, some staff and security guards are trained to spot the signs of an emergency and guide people away from the risk of danger. Building managers should ensure that these members of staff are also trained to use the escape evacuation equipment in order to vacate mobility-restricted individuals, should the need arise.

Developing Evacuation Plans for your Shopping Centre

It is important for shopping centre managers to develop evacuation plans and ensure there is enough evacuation equipment to cater to all of the mobility-restricted individuals that could be on the premises at any one time. During busy periods such as Christmas, there will be high volumes of people in shopping centres. If a fire evacuation happens, there will no doubt be a large flow of people traffic – so, shoppers needing special assistance to evacuate will require the use of evacuation chairs in the shopping centre in order to escape safely.

It is also a good business decision. Mobility-restricted people are more likely to visit shops in which they feel safe and comfortable. In the same way that accessible shops attract more business, so too do shopping centres that prioritise the needs of mobility-restricted individuals in the event of an emergency evacuation.

As supermarkets get bigger and bigger, evacuation becomes an important consideration for the grocery retail sector. More supermarkets are building mezzanine floors for extra space to house new departments, such as clothing, household goods and entertainment. Newer stores are also being built with multi-level parking garages with lift access, staircases, escalators or travelators. So, supermarkets are fast facing the same issues as large shopping centres, as they will need evacuation equipment to vacate mobility-restricted people down stairs.

When you go shopping, do you first take a look at the floor plan to see where the nearest fire exit is? It rarely occurs to shoppers that a fire or even a bomb threat could possibly occur. Even though the chances are slim, there is always a possibility – and, retailers should take the necessary precautions to ensure that shoppers can be evacuated safely in the event of an emergency.

Additional to procuring evacuation chairs or evacuation mattresses, the business manager must be aware that those using the equipment to evacuate people need to be confident and know how to use the equipment to quickly and safely evacuate the mobility restricted individual from the shopping centre.

As with a car or a boiler, it is highly important to take measures to ensure that any evacuation equipment purchased for your shopping centre must be regularly maintained and serviced to ensure it is in good working order should an evacuation of the shopping centre take place.

If you would like to see how Escape Mobility can support evacuation planning for shopping centres, please give one of our Public Sector specialists a call today on 0844 800 1775 or to request a call back, please contact us.