Simultaneous Evacuation

Guidance to support a temporary change to a simultaneous evacuation strategy in purpose-built blocks of flats

*Please note, in consultation with all stakeholders, we are currently updating the Simultaneous Evacuation Guidance.  If you would like to know more or be involved, please email Further updates will be provided here in due course.*

Following extensive consultation, the NFCC-led stakeholder group have updated the guidance on simultaneous evacuation and introduced key changes. 

This is the third edition of the technical guidance on arrangements to support a temporary change to the evacuation strategy. Such a change should only be considered when all other interim risk mitigation measures, as set out in the consolidated advice note (linked to at the bottom of the page), have been found to be insufficient in managing the risk.  Following the increasing number of buildings being identified with combustible cladding and without any known guidance on changing from stay put to simultaneous evacuation, in 2017 NFCC and other sector stakeholders produced guidance to avoid people being removed from their homes. 

The guidance sets out measures to support the immediate safety of residents, whilst fully accepting that the principle way to reduce risk is to urgently remediate the non-compliant external wall systems. 

This edition of the guidance is published in conjunction with ARMA; Fire Protection Association; Fire Industry Association; OPTIVO; and Institution of Fire Engineers.

The main edits are:
  • Advises consultation with residents and leaseholders to explore cost/benefit options
  • Emphasises the need to consider the installation of common fire alarms where measures are now, or are likely to be in place for the longer term. 
  • Provides a clear distinction between waking watch and evacuation management as separate roles.
  • Emphasises that residents can carry out waking watches and/or evacuation management duties so long as they are appropriately trained.
It also provides new definitions:
  • Short-term: the time required to formulate a longer-term remediation plan, as soon as practically possible and no longer than 12 months; and
  • Temporary: non-permanent measures implemented to mitigate an unacceptable risk in a building, as an interim measure, adopted for the safety of residents while works to rectify the identified fire safety failings are carried out.

These amendments underscore the stakeholder group and NFCC’s firm and long held expectation that building owners should move to install common fire alarms as quickly as possible to reduce or remove the dependence on waking watches. This is the clear expectation for buildings where remediation cannot be undertaken in the ‘short term’. This approach should, in almost all circumstances, reduce the financial burden on residents where they are funding the waking watches. 

This updated guidance means that all Responsible Persons for affected buildings should review their fire risk assessment to ensure the fire safety arrangements including the interim measures in place are appropriate, informed by this guidance and the advice of a competent person.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government (MHCLG) released on 20th January 2020, consolidated guidance, “Building safety advice for building owners, including fire doors” which has superseded the previous published Expert Panel (EP) Advice Notes 1 to 22.

Simultaneous Evacuation guidance

 Frequently Asked Questions


Simultaneous Evacuation Guidance Draft Addendum 
Addendum 1 – Maintaining Fire Safety Provisions, Draft issued 30 July 2021

An addendum to the Simultaneous Evacuation Guidance (SEG) is currently being produced to draw the attention of Responsible Persons to recent instances where some fire safety systems have not operated as intended during fires in high-rise residential buildings. This draft addendum is intended to signpost RPs to further information and existing resources to support them to meet their ongoing responsibilities and improve the safety of residents. The current version is made available here as a draft Here

Following recent Government announcements in July 2021, it is currently being considered whether a previously planned review of the SEG would be appropriate to bring forward, and expedite as a light-touch review to ensure alignment across other relevant and available guidance documents. It may be that following consideration of these matters alongside recent announcements, that it is expedient to wrap the draft addendum into this process.   

Responsibility to check your premises fire safety measures - Open letter to Responsible Persons

The link above is an open letter from LGA and NFCC to Responsible Persons of high-rise buildings regarding their responsibility to check their premises' fire safety measures. This is especially important for those in charge of properties that have implemented a temporary change to their evacuation strategy from Stay Put to Simultaneous Evacuation and those that have implemented temporary measures.

The letter reminds Responsible Persons of certain responsibilities and provides them with resources that might be of assistance, including the draft addendum to the Simultaneous Evacuation Guidance which was published on NFCC's website last Friday 30 July.

July 2021