Manchester City Council

People & communities Preparing for Emergencies

City centre evacuation

A major disaster can affect the city centre at any time, so it's important that we all plan ahead to minimise the risks to the people and businesses that make up the heart of the city.

The city centre emergency response and evacuation arrangements consist of the Manchester city centre zoning map as well as robust multi-agency plans. 

Download the city centre zoning map and guidance for:

Clearly it's also possible that an emergency could affect communities outside of the city centre.  If an emergency evacuation is required in your area, the following advice is still relevant. 

Advice for different types of emergency

How will I know that an evacuation is required?

This will depend on the nature and location of the emergency but sources may include:

  • the Emergency Services directly
  • Fire alarms may be activated
  • Messages to members of CityCo or the Manchester Business Continuity Forum (MBCF)
  • Notifications through business security channels (e.g. radio network) 
  • Media sources Social Media Public address systems e.g. those in shopping centres, bus, rail and tram stations
  • Trusted social media accounts e.g. Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and North West Ambulance Service
  • Electronic display boards in use across the city centre

Police Officers, along with other emergency responders, will co-ordinate any evacuation. Where possible your building management and security staff will assist.

What to do if an evacuation is required

  • Leave your workplace or home as soon as possible
  • If you are a city centre business, implement your appropriate building evacuation plan immediately
  • Inform others who do not appear to be responding to the evacuation request
  • Where possible, use security staff or nominated company representatives to escort everyone away from danger in a safe manner
  • Always follow Police advice

Making preparations

If you are a city centre resident, it is a good idea to check which zone you live in.  In the event of an emergency you should be directed to a place of safety outside of affected zones and advised of what support is available to you. 

If you are a business, it is recommended that you develop an evacuation plan for your premises to help protect your staff in the event of an emergency. The zoning map should help with your planning if you're based in the city centre, but the principles are still relevant to business outside of the centre, even if there isn't a zoning map for your particular area.  Your evacuation plan should be tested for effectiveness through a 'rehearsal' or 'table-top' exercise to make sure all staff are aware of their responsibilities and to make sure the plan is fit-for-purpose.

Whilst preparing an evacuation plan it is good practice to consider the following issues:

  • How will you ensure that all staff are aware of the contents of your plan?
  • Which staff will have specific responsibility for building evacuation?  Do you need to identify deputies for those staff?
  • Where are your pre-identified fire assembly points?  Are they a safe distance from your building? Which 'zone' are you in?
  • Where are your pre-identified bomb assembly points in adjacent zones to yours? Where is your assembly point outside the city centre?
  • How will you alert your staff and visitors of the need to evacuate and how will you inform them of chosen assembly points on the day?
  • How will you ensure that all of your staff can reach assembly points? 
  • Do you have specific procedures to assist staff and visitors with physical or visual difficulties?
  • How will you account for all your staff and visitors (including any on-site contractors) at the assembly point?
  • Do you have an emergency 'grab bag' for the event of evacuation of your premises?  Contents may include a torch, a radio, a mobile phone and charger, essential phone numbers and your Business Continuity Plan, essential information/documents, keys, money, bottled water and a first aid kit - however you will know what is most appropriate for the needs of your organisation.
  • How will you communicate with your staff while they are out of your premises?  Remember in  a major incident that mobile phone networks may not be operating as normal.
  • How often will you test your evacuation plan? Good practise recommends that this activity should be done regularly to maintain levels of alertness and preparedness.
  • How often will you review your evacuation plan?  Who's job will this be?

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