15. Means of Escape and Exit Routes
October 17, 2014
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General

15.1 Guidance regarding final egress is contained in Chapter 9 of the Code of Practice for Safety at Sports Grounds. 1

Egress

15.2 Gates should be manned at all times by stewards and should be opened before the end of the concert. If the gates are opened too early there is a danger of hawkers moving in and causing an obstruction to patrons leaving the concert. The egress procedures need careful planning and management, as this can be a dangerous time particularly for younger children.

15.3 It is the responsibility of the Promoter to comply with the requirements of the Fire Safety in Places of Assembly (Ease of Escape) Regulations, 1985, 2 while the public are present in the ground. This applies, inter alia, to manning and controlling all means of ingress and egress.

15.4 The Promoter should ensure that, while the ground is in actual use as a place of assembly:-

(i) subject to clause (ii) hereunder, all escape routes are kept unobstructed and immediately available for uses;

(ii) doors, gates and other like barriers across escape routes are not secured in such a manner that they cannot be easily and immediately opened by persons in the place of assembly;

(iii) all chains, padlocks and other removable fastenings for securing doors, gates or other like barriers are removed and kept in a place where they may be readily inspected by an authorised person for the purpose of Section 22 of the Fire Services Act, 1981. 3

[Sub-paragraphs (i), (ii) and (iii) above are extracts from the Fire Safety in Places of Assembly (Ease of Escape) Regulations, 1985].

15.5 No exits should be taken out of use without prior consultation with the Local Authority.

15.6 No temporary barriers should be placed on or around the pitch, anywhere within the ground or immediately outside the ground where they could form an obstruction to the means of escape or impede the safe evacuation of the venue.

15.7 If the event takes place in a sports ground, sections of the perimeter fence should be removed to ensure as quick as possible an exit from the pitch area or from the terraces and stands to the pitch in an emergency. All gates in the perimeter fence should be manned, locked back in the fully open position or removed.

15.8 Temporary ramps or temporary steps placed between terraces/stands and the pitch to allow ingress/egress should be adequately designed and constructed having regard to the crowd numbers and loading.

15.9 Caterers and other services should not be permitted to set up stalls or park vehicles in a manner which would impede the safe evacuation of the venue. It is the Promoter’s responsibility to ensure that this does not occur within the venue. Marquees and tents should be sited remote from egress routes.

15.10 All exits should be clearly indicated by appropriate notices.

15.11 Exit gates should be manned and opened in the manner specified in Paragraphs 15.3 and 15.4. Stewards manning exit gates should be in direct communication with the Central Control Room. Gates should be capable of being opened immediately on instruction from the Central Control Room. An automatic opening/closing device, controlled from the Central Control Room, allied with a fail-safe mechanism, would be the favoured option.

Measures to Facilitate Safe Egress

15.12 When the crowd is leaving at the end of the event recorded music should be played at a lower volume to slow down the crowd movement. The loudspeaker system should be used to give repeated directions concerning egress to people leaving. It is vitally important that there is an even distribution of patrons exiting from all exits and stewards should endeavour to achieve this in order to assist a speedy and orderly evacuation.

15.13 Safe evacuation is achieved by sufficient safe and evenly distributed escape routes. In practice, it should not rely completely on stewards. Good signage, public address systems and structured arrangements should support safety.

References

1. Code of Practice for Safety at Sports Grounds, Stationery Office, Dublin. 1996.
2. Fire Safety in Places of Assembly (Ease of Escape) Regulations, 1985, Stationery Office, Dublin.
3. Fire Services Act, 1981, Stationery Office, Dublin.

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