Birmingham City Centre
Birmingham City Council has worked closely with the police and other partners to develop the Birmingham City Centre Evacuation Plan. The Birmingham City Centre Evacuation Plan provides a comprehensive plan for the evacuation of all, or part of, the city centre in the event of an alert or a major incident including terrorist attack, major fire or natural disaster.
The plan includes a map which divides the city centre into zones to:
- assist the public and/or businesses to identify their exact location within the area that the emergency services and other responding agencies regard as the city centre boundary;
- assist with the development of area profiles i.e. industrial, residential, commercial, many of which have discreet usage boundaries;
- identify significant premises within a zone.
I work or live in the city centre. How will I know that an evacuation is required?
Police officers will coordinate evacuation of the area(s) assisted by Police Community Support Officers, City Centre Street Wardens, building representatives and security staff.
The primary methods of communication used by the Police during a major incident are by broadcasting messages via:
- ‘Birmingham Community Alert’ – a free emergency messaging system available to all Birmingham residents and businesses that subscribe for free;
- Radio systems used by shops, pubs and clubs e.g. Retail Radio Network
- Public address systems located in shopping centres and bus and rail information points;
- Police helicopter using its ‘Skyshout’ public address system;
- Police officers on the street;
- Broadcasts by local radio and TV stations.
What should I do if an evacuation of my building / location is required?
- Implement your building evacuation plan immediately;
- Inform others, within your building / immediate location, who do not appear to be responding to the evacuation request;
- Do not evacuate if your building is not notified, this might put yourself and others at greater risk, unless you identify a specific risk to your staff. Response to some incidents may require you to take shelter in your building (invacuate) and take precautionary measures e.g. closing windows and turning off air conditioning units during an air pollution incident;
- Use security staff or nominated company representatives to escort everyone from danger;
- Follow emergency services advice.
Practical steps for city centre premises/business owners
Under UK health and safety legislation, ALL premises must have an evacuation plan. It is good practice to have separate fire and bomb evacuation procedures. When developing evacuation plans refer to the ‘Keep Your Business In Business’ (KYBIB) handbook developed by West Midlands Arson Task Force which contains some useful pointers, some of which are also legal requirements upon business management under existing fire safety legislation.
In addition, you should consider including the following in your plans:
- Emergency procedures for staff and managers dealing with a range of scenarios (eg fire, bomb threat, suspicious mail) in the building;
- Specified tasks for staff in the event of emergency procedures being implemented;
- Current site and floor layouts showing clear site boundaries, access, exits, details of adjacent sites and location of gas, electricity, water mains and any hazards;
- Pre-identified off-site fire assembly points;
- Pre-identified bomb assembly points within and outside of the city centre;
- Arrangements to account for all staff at assembly areas and for communicating to staff during an emergency e.g. a telephone tree;
- Arrangements for maintaining details of people on your premises;
- Arrangements for briefing people visiting your business of your evacuation procedures and pre-agreed on-site arrangements to ensure that visitors and staff are directed to an appropriate assembly point;
- Up-to-date details of people who may need assistance in order to respond to the implementation of emergency procedures;
- Arrangements for maintaining contact details for staff (including security staff), key holders and other site users (particularly in multi-occupied premises or where there are retail/commercial premises with residential accommodation above);
- Subscribe to Birmingham Community Alert scheme to be able to receive messages regarding events/alerts/incidents;
- Staff carrying out emergency response roles to have appropriate personal high visibility clothing, equipment etc.;
- Produce incident checklists;
- Knowledge of the city centre zone map and which zone your premises are located;
- Prepare an emergency grab bag with all these details available, both on-site and at a convenient off-site locations;
- Ensure you have sufficient numbers of trained first aiders and regularly check first aid kits;
- Consider developing a Business Continuity Plan to complement your evacuation procedures.
West Midlands Police and Birmingham Community Alert Scheme
Birmingham Community Alert is a service for all residents and businesses in Birmingham. Importantly, you will be able to receive emergency text or voice messages during an emergency incident.
Emergency messages are usually delivered by SMS (text messages), but messages can be delivered by landline, fax, e-mails and pagers.
A message on evacuation may include:
- Details of the incident and the building / location; Location(s) to be evacuated and direction of evacuation;
- Updates on the situation and when it is safe to return to premises in a particular location;
Birmingham Community Alert is quick and easy to sign up to by going to our secure online sign up form. You can also sign up by text message by sending a message to 83118 with ALERT followed by your postcode.
Where can I get more information?
Two initiatives which may be of interest to local businesses and run by West Midlands Police are Project Griffin and Project Argus. For more information visit: