Managing emergencies on an eviction site

When evicting occupiers from a site, the one virtual certainty is that there will be resistance in some form or another, which will frequently be accompanied by hazards.

As part of our planning and preparation for an eviction, we look to identify and mitigate as many risks as we can in advance, as well as have robust procedures and rigorous training to deal with emergencies on site.
So, whilst they are, fortunately, rare, here is an overview of how we deal with emergencies on site to keep everyone safe.

Fire

The risk of fire is always present, especially in buildings where there are electrical connections or sites where fuel is stored. We have removed squatters from pubs where they rigged up the electrics to gain power in a way that would give a qualified electrician sleepless nights for months, if not years!

We also cleared a site on one occasion where the occupiers had left a full gas cannister on a switched-on electric ring, warming up nicely, waiting to explode!

Our operational plan, whatever the hazard, must cover two main areas – making the site safe where trained personnel can do so without endangering anyone, and secondly evacuating everyone from the immediate area site as quickly as possible. In the case of fire, the Fire Brigade will be called.

Our operational planning will always include detailed evacuation procedures.

Hazardous materials

In many buildings, especially older buildings, we draft in qualified teams to deal with hazardous materials, particularly asbestos, and contaminated sites. You can read more about how we deal with these in this article.

Weapons and violence

If we find any weapons on site or are threatened, then the team will withdraw to a safe distance and advise the HCEO (High Court enforcement officer) in charge of the operation. If the police are not already on site, they will normally be called at this point.

Our agents will restart the enforcement action once the police advise us it is safe to do so.

Managing emergency situations

Fortunately, they are rare, but an emergency situation is defined as ‘an occurrence that poses a threat of serious injury, loss of life or a breakdown in public order and does require the police to assume the co-ordination of its resolution’.

Whilst we will deal with situations that normally arise during the eviction, when it is deemed an emergency and police presence is required, the police will take over control of the emergency operation, with our support, for as long as is required to resolve it.

Training and planning

We spend a significant amount of time training our enforcement agents to be ready for and know how to respond to any hazard or emergency. Combined with our rigours planning, this allows us to undertake challenging evictions with the safety of all concerned as the foremost priority.

If you have a challenging situation that needs addressing and would like some advice, please do get in touch.