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Disabled Refuge Systems

Every commercial or public building with more than one floor must have a disabled refuge point, including any premise that isn’t solely residential.

Fire refuges are also recommended for high-rise domestic properties due to the Fire Safety Act 2021 following the tragedy at Grenfell, London.

A disabled refuge is a vital, life-saving resource that ensures that everybody on-site has a safe, protected space to go to when awaiting evacuation if they cannot leave the property quickly and independently.

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Clearway emergency refuge area
Clearway emergency refuge area

About our Emergency Refuge Systems

Clearway provides a full range of fire systems to businesses, organisations and public sector bodies.

We can advise on the appropriate number and placement of disabled refuge points within your building to comply with your risk assessments and legal health and safety requirements.

Disabled Refuge sign

Disabled Refuge Point Installation

There are limitless scenarios where a disabled refuge system is mandatory and necessary.

In a fire or other emergency evacuation, it can be impossible to assist less mobile individuals down stairways, particularly where they require a wheelchair or mobility device.

It may also be difficult or inadvisable to assist somebody else, considering situations such as hospitals, where it is unsafe and unsuitable to use manual exit routes when lifts or escalators are out of operation.

Properties that require a disabled refuge point on every floor include:

  • Hotels
  • Offices
  • Large residential buildings
  • Multi-storey car parks
  • Hospitals
  • Shopping centres

Clearway disabled refuge system installations can be fitted with Type A handsets, allowing a user to call the Fire Officer or other responder. Alternatives include a Type B hands-free call station, ideal for individuals who may not be able to use a hand-held device.

We provide a vast range of options, with refuge areas connected directly to your fire control system, as a fully integrated solution that is immediately activated when an alarm is triggered.


Disabled Refuge Testing and Maintenance

Employers and businesses with public access are responsible for ensuring all people can evacuate safely and must provide a specially designed refuge, along with other potential solutions such as evacuation lifts.

Emergency provisions cannot be relied upon to be effective without regular testing – which involves maintenance, evacuation tests, inspections of the phone lines, fire control panel integration, backup lighting and ventilation.

Our experienced engineers can schedule maintenance and 24-hour emergency call-outs to ensure your disabled refuges systems are in excellent working order and will prevent loss of life in an incident.

Fixtures and fittings such as tamper and waterproof plates, two-way communications, ground control emergency phone lines, and hearing loop systems enable all users to request assistance when required.

These fire safety systems include secondary power supplies and a control system accessible by the fire authorities.

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Standards in UK Disabled Refuges

As a market-leading security and property management service provider, Clearway can advise on the appropriate standards and legislation your building must comply with.

All disabled refuges we install are specified to BS 5829 Part 9.

Building owners and managers may also wish to schedule a full fire and safety risk assessment to identify suitable measures to protect personnel and visitors.

High-rise properties and those without accessible exit routes must regularly review evacuation plans and submit copies to the local fire and rescue services to assist with a prompt, targeted response if required.

Organisations should also furnish each disabled or less mobile individual with a personal emergency evacuation plan, which defines how anybody with compromised mobility will either self-vacate the site or retreat to a fire-protected safe space until assistance arrives.

Note that disabled refuge points are not solely for wheelchair users and can be crucial for anybody with mobility or cognition differences.

In the event of a fire, smoke, gas leak or intrusion, the alarms and loss of mains power can be distressing.

A fully equipped disabled refuge ensures that people who cannot follow general evacuation plans are protected.

Disabled refuge

Disabled Refuge Design

Disabled refuge systems are simple to install and can be fitted quickly, without disruption, and with a low impact on the rest of your workforce, building or business.

Some design aspects will be dictated by the standards and building layout, for example:

  • Compliant refuge spaces must be at least 90cm x 140cm, with enough room for a wheelchair to move.
  • Opening pressure for refuge doors must not exceed 20 Newtons (opening against the travel direction) or 30 when opening towards the travel direction.
  • Signage is required so that anybody can find the refuge quickly, along with emergency lighting or route signage with a battery-operated backup system.
  • Refuges should have seating available should the individual wish to use this while they wait for evacuation.

Clearway can provide tailored advice to ensure that your disabled refuge systems meet all requirements, is usable and fit for purpose, and slots seamlessly into your property.

Related Fire and Life Safety Systems

Fire safety and life preservation are critical risk assessment and building management aspects.

Although your requirements will vary depending on the nature of your site, Clearway offers a comprehensive package of solutions and installations, always with regular maintenance and emergency call-outs available.

Associated safety services include:

  • Emergency Lighting systems: Professional emergency evacuation and standby lighting, linked with fire detection systems to support safe building clearance.
  • Fire Extinguisher services: We offer full site surveys to recommend appropriate extinguishers, correct placement and extinguisher sizing.
  • Fire Confirmation Systems: Intelligent smoke and fire detection systems to verify the trigger for an alarm and notify site managers and responders of the source.
  • Commercial Disabled Toilets: Fully fitted disabled facilities to ensure your property is DDA compliant and suitable for all staff, visitors and site users.

Please contact Clearway today for further information about these safety services.

Contact us now

Contact our experts now to discuss your requirements and get a quote from us.

Call 0800 085 8695 or email us at

Frequently asked questions

Any multi-storey property without an accessible fire exit should have a refuge in appropriate zones, allowing users to seek protection without blocking other general escape routes.

The standard dictates that a refuge must be at least 90cm x 140cm.

The correct placement will depend on your facilities and layout. Please get in touch to schedule a professional site survey to help determine the right approach to fitting a disabled refuge at your property.

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