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Everton FC invests in evacuation equipment

Everton FC invests in evacuation equipment

Everton FC has made significant investment to ensure equality for all visitors, even though the club is set to relocate to a new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock on the Liverpool waterfront in the future.  

The Premier League football club committed to comply with the new regulations for disabled access set out in the Accessible Stadia Guide (ASG). Its 39,500 capacity, Goodison Park, Stadium has undergone major redevelopment and has chosen Evac+Chairs for mobility-impaired supporters who are unable to use the stairways in an emergency.

Richard Cairns, Facilities Manager at Everton FC, said: “We chose to invest in our ground regardless of the new stadium because, as a club, we are committed to all our supporters and hold the need for equality, particularly in sports, in high regard.

“Evacuation procedures obviously underpin our fire safety strategy, but we also need to provide for any circumstance where someone may need assistance and the lifts are out of action. Appropriate evacuation training is vital for all football clubs as, you can imagine, we have a lot of people working here on match days, so we needed to develop a policy that enables us to train as many of our team as possible.

“Evac+Chair helped implement a training programme for key match day staff and accessibility stewards and we are confident that all of our fans and visitors to Goodison Park would be evacuated safety and correctly in an emergency.”

In 2015, Premier League football clubs agreed services for disabled supporters would be amongst the priorities for investment and agreed unanimously to comply with the guidance contained in “Accessible Stadia, Facilities for Disabled Fans” by the beginning of Season 2017/18. 

The ASG was first published in 2003 to help sports stadia operators make “reasonable adjustments” to overcome barriers that put disabled people at a substantial disadvantage. This was updated in August 2015. The ASG works in conjunction with Part M of the Building Regulations which provides guidance on disability access technical standards for building developments. 

The Premier League’s rules impose a general requirement to ‘provide sufficient and adequate facilities for disabled supporters.’ 

The improvements at Everton FC included a range of new viewing positions for fans with disabilities, new evacuation equipment and improved toilets and facilities. A key part of the project was new, elevated, wheelchair-friendly, viewing platforms and a number of accessible seating options in various areas of the ground.

One of the criticisms levelled at several clubs was that wheelchair users suffered poor sightlines of the match by being positioned at pitch level. The new elevated platforms at Goodison Park now provide an additional 89 positions for wheelchair users. These are situated between the Goodison Road Main Stand and Sir Phillip Carter Park stand, as well as some additional elevated positions in the Howard Kendall Gwladys street stand and the Bullens Road away end. In total, there are now 214 positions for wheelchair users at Goodison Park.

A range of improvements – including four, new, fully-accessible lifts, two new, accessible wheelchair lifts, new stairs and designated entrances and exits – have also improved access and emergency evacuation.

The club already had 12 evacuation chairs in place and has invested in another four chairs to become fully compliant.

The chair model chosen by Everton FC is the 300H which has a 182kg carrying capacity and is designed for one-person operation.  It avoids the need for heavy lifting or manual handling. British-made, all Evac+Chairs carry the CE mark (class 1 medical device) and also undergo comprehensive type testing, backed up with 35 years’ experience. 

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