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How can I check if my building has an approved evacuation scheme and that it has been maintained?
You can contact the Fire Service Area Office for your building. The contact details for the Area Offices are listed in our Contact Details guide.
Does my building need an approved evacuation scheme?
A building owner must ensure the building complies with the Fire Service Act 1975 ('Act') and the Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2006 ('Regulations'). Any building used in whole or part for one or more of the following purposes is defined as a 'relevant building' by the Act and must have an approved evacuation scheme:
The gathering together, for any purpose, of 100 or more persons
Providing employment facilities for 10 or more persons
Providing accommodation for more than 5 persons (other than in 3 or fewer household units)
A place where hazardous substances are present in quantities exceeding the prescribed minimum amounts (set out in Schedule 2 of the Regulations), whatever the purpose for which the building is used
Providing early childhood facilities (other than in a household unit)
Providing nursing, medical or geriatric care (other than in a household unit)
Providing specialised care for people with disabilities (other than in a household unit)
Providing accommodation for persons under lawful detention (not being persons subject to home detention)
Owners of buildings with an automatic sprinkler system (which meets the criteria set out in the Regulations) and which are only used for either (2) or (3) and no other uses do not need an approved scheme. However, owners of those buildings must give the National Commander notice that the building does not need an evacuation scheme. A notification template is available from our Printable Forms page.
Do I need an evacuation scheme for one off events?
Yes, if the venue (including temporary structures such as a marquee) meets the requirements of a relevant building under section 21A of the Act and does not already have an approved evacuation scheme.
What is an evacuation procedure?
An evacuation procedure is a plan that describes how occupants will escape to a place of safety if there is a fire or suspected fire.
Evacuation procedures do not need Fire Service approval. The requirements for evacuation procedures are set out in Part 1 of the Regulations.
Most buildings other than dwellings must at least have an evacuation procedure in place, but if a building is a relevant building (see ‘Does my building need an approved evacuation scheme?’ above) then the building owner must provide and maintain an approved evacuation scheme.
What is a voluntary scheme?
Owners of buildings that are not relevant buildings may apply for Fire Service approval of a voluntary evacuation scheme. If the building is not a relevant building because it is not used for one or more of the uses listed in section 21A of the Act, then the application is voluntary.
Who can apply for an evacuation scheme?
The building owner can either apply themselves or authorise another party to complete the application on their behalf. If the building owner is not making the application, an authorisation form (available from the Printable Forms page) must be included with the application.
How can I apply to get an evacuation scheme approved by the Fire Service?
The easiest way is to apply online using the link below. You will need to logon using RealMe before you can apply online.
What help is available to complete my application?
We have a range of guides and example documents to help you get started. You are welcome to use our example documents as the basis for your own application however please ensure that all details are updated to correctly reflect your own building.
There are also a number of independent Evacuation Consultants nationwide who can be hired to develop and implement your evacuation scheme. The Fire Service recommends Evacuation Consultants who are certified by the Fire Protection Association of New Zealand (FPANZ). A directory of certified Evacuation Consultants is available from their website here.
What is the best way to submit a number of applications for similar buildings?
If you need approved evacuation schemes for similar buildings (e.g. a chain of retail stores, or multiple buildings on one site) here are a few tips that may help to make it easier.
You can create an application template and then submit multiple applications based on that template, only changing the necessary key details (e.g. the building name and address) for each application. Please see our working with application templates guide for full details.
It is usually recommended to get your first application approved before submitting your remaining applications. This will save time if there are any issues from your first application that need to be corrected - you can then ensure your remaining applications have those same corrections included.
It may be best to phone the Fire Information Unit on 0800 347 346 to confirm how your applications will be structured before submitting any applications. For example, it may be that you can combine two or more buildings into one application, or that not all of your buildings are required to have an approved evacuation scheme.
How long does it take to get my evacuation scheme application approved?
The Fire Service has 20 working days from receiving the application to make a decision. The decision may not necessarily be to approve the application.
If the application is not approved the Fire Service will notify the applicant in writing. Once the applicant has amended and resubmitted their application, the Fire Service has 20 working days from receiving the resubmission to make a decision.
Can I request my application is processed faster?
Yes, however this can never be guaranteed as there are a number of factors that could affect the processing and decision times for each application.
To request faster processing of your application, please submit your application first and then contact the Fire Information Unit on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 347 346. If you have submitted your application online, please provide your application reference number (starting with EV-) as well.
Will the Fire Service visit as part of the evacuation scheme approval?
This is usually only necessary if your building will be using “places of safety inside”, however we may visit some buildings to ensure we have a clear understanding of the procedures that have been submitted to us for approval.
What is the cost to apply for an evacuation scheme?
There is no cost to apply for an evacuation scheme.
What is the difference between a trial evacuation and a training programme?
As part of your application you must select whether to do trial evacuations or an evacuation training programme. Note – buildings used for providing early childhood facilities (other than in a household unit) or as educational institutions must select trial evacuations.
Trial evacuations usually involve all of the building occupants participating in a 'fire drill' where a fire emergency is simulated – i.e. sounding the alarm, evacuating the building, accounting for all occupants, etc.
Evacuation training programmes must demonstrate how the permanent occupants (staff, residents, etc) are trained to manage an evacuation of all the occupants from the building in an emergency. This is often the most suitable option for buildings whose occupants are likely to be transient (e.g. Motels, Theatres, etc) or need assistance to evacuate.
Where can I get hazardous substance classifications?
Information about hazardous substance classification is available from:
Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 compliant safety data sheet from the manufacturer;
No, but the person in charge of the evacuation has to be in a position to know if all occupants have been evacuated from the building or the location of anyone remaining inside, e.g. people in places of safety inside the building (if any) and/or people with a disability. Having wardens may assist with this. If your approved evacuation scheme includes wardens, the wardens must be appropriately trained.
Do I need firefighting equipment installed as part of my evacuation scheme?
No this is not a requirement, but it is recommended by the Fire Service.
Do I need to install a fire alarm system as part of my evacuation scheme?
Not necessarily. The Regulations do not require fire safety systems beyond those specified in the building legislation in place at the time the building was built, however you do have to have an appropriate means to warn people in the building of a fire and in some cases the installation of an alarm system may be the best option.
What happens after an evacuation scheme has been approved?
Your approved scheme will include a requirement to complete either trial evacuations or an evacuation training programme at least once every six months. To keep your scheme current and maintained you must notify the Fire Service each time this requirement has been completed. For full details please refer to our Maintaining your approved evacuation scheme guide.
What do we need to do before and after a trial evacuation?
If your approved evacuation scheme requires regular trial evacuations, the building owner must:
notify the Fire Service of a proposed trial evacuation at least 10 working days before the date of the trial evacuation, and
provide a report to the Fire Service within 10 days of the trial evacuation being carried out, with the information specified in the Regulations.
The Fire Service recommends that the person managing the trial evacuation calls 111 as part of the trial evacuation, however you may choose to role play this task. Refer to Appendix D of The Guide to Evacuation Schemes for more information.
Can we treat false alarms as trial evacuations?
No, emergency evacuations and/or false alarms cannot be treated as trial evacuations for the purposes of the notice requirements in the 2006 Regulations. Where there is a real evacuation the building owner will not have been able to give the Fire Service the notice needed before a trial evacuation takes place.
Can I amend my approved evacuation scheme?
There is no provision under the Regulations to amend an approved evacuation scheme, however a new application can be submitted at any time to replace an existing scheme.
Please note that the building owner must notify the National Commander in writing if one or more of the following events occur:
Building work is carried out on the building under Section 112 of the Building Act 2004 resulting in its means of escape from fire being significantly affected.
The means of escape from fire for the building are required to be altered as a specified system under Section 107 of the Building Act 2004.
If the building is a building with a specified intended life within the meaning of Section 7 of the Building Act 2004, its life is extended under Section 116 of that Actf the building is a building with a specified intended life within the meaning of Section 7 of the Building Act 2004, its life is extended under Section 116 of that Act.
The occupancy of the building is changed to the extent that its means of escape from fire are no longer adequatehe occupancy of the building is changed to the extent that its means of escape from fire are no longer adequate.
The building is no longer required to have an evacuation scheme (e.g. the building is demolished or is no longer used for a purpose described in Section 21A of the Fire Service Act 1975)he building is no longer required to have an evacuation scheme (e.g. the building is demolished or is no longer used for a purpose described in Section 21A of the Fire Service Act 1975).
It's officially backed by government and is the secure way to prove who you are online. It's unique to you and it puts you in control of your online identity. It's been designed to be trusted by businesses and government agencies. It makes signing up for products and services on the internet faster, easier and more secure.
Can an approved evacuation scheme be transferred to a different RealMe logon, for example if a person leaves the company and someone else takes over?
Yes, if the approved scheme was applied for online. Transferring the scheme to another RealMe logon will allow that person to continue the ongoing maintenance needed for an approved scheme. Please email email@example.com to request a scheme transfer.
What types of files can I attach to my online application?
Every application will need supporting files to be attached – you will be prompted to do this as you complete your application. Supporting files must be either JPG, JPEG or PDF.
JPG and JPEG are the most common file types for images taken with digital cameras and are widely used for photos.
PDF documents can be used across many different types of computers and browsers. Many software programs include an option to convert an existing document to PDF format, however if you don’t have this option you may like to try one of the free PDF converter websites below.
The evacuation scheme online application is an HTML form. When you cut and paste information from other applications (e.g. Microsoft Word) into HTML forms it can cause problems such as invalid characters, unusual formatting and website errors.
To avoid this it is recommended to either type the information directly into the application form or save the Microsoft Word file as an HTML file and then cut and paste the text from the HTML file into the application form.
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