How your business can get involved

Image of a red emergency cord in a toilet with text saying 'World Toilet Day #RedCordCampaign'

This World Toilet Day we’re asking businesses up and down the country to get involved and test the red emergency cords in their accessible toilets. 

Red emergency cords are designed to save lives, yet across the country disabled people are having to use accessible toilets which are unsafe because these cords are unusable. This can be because the cord is not working or where it has been cut too short, tied up or put out of the way. With your help and support we want to raise awareness in the purpose of these cords. We are asking organisations to test their red emergency cords on World Toilet Day to check that they are working. We hope that going forward testing these cords will become as routine as tests carried out on any other alarm installed in public buildings.

We regularly receive comments from people who have been unable to summon help in accessible toilets when the red emergency cords are not working correctly. Here is an example of the worrying feedback we’ve received, this one involved staff failing to respond to the alarm:

“…today I’ve spent 45 minutes on a disabled toilet floor waiting for the emergency pull bell to be answered after I slipped and fell. It took a friend phoning the hospital reception for me to be rescued. I’m in agony and very upset and not even graced with an apology.”

There are many instances where people have been unable to raise the alarm. This could be because the cord is broken or out of reach, as shown in the examples below:  

“Got stuck in a supposedly accessible toilet, got out on my own after some panicked minutes but wondered what would have happened if I was less able…”

“I recently collapsed in a disabled toilet where the cord had been tied and was unable to summon assistance. If I can help prevent this for others by using your cards then hopefully some progress can be made”

Sign our pledge to let us know if your business is taking part and use the resources below to improve your toilet’s disabled access.

What to do on Tuesday 19th November

The red emergency cord is of no use if it is not working. Regular tests and checks should be carried out to ensure that the cord can be used when it is required. We are asking you to carry out a test on World Toilet Day, Tuesday 19th November and put systems in place to enable the team to check the cord is left in the correct position and tests the alarm at regular intervals going forward. We recommend that you follow these 4 steps to successfully carry out the test on World Toilet Day.

Step 1: Awareness

We’d love it if you could support this campaign by getting the word out within your organisation so that staff learn what red emergency cords are and what to do if they go off. It would also be great if you could get the word out to your customers through signage at the venue and by showing your support for this campaign it on social media using #RedCordCampaign and #WorldToiletDay.

Click here for more suggestions and ideas for what to share on social media >>

Step 2: Preparing

Before you test the red emergency cord, we highly recommend ensuring that you know how to turn off the alarm. There should be a reset control for the alarm located in the bathroom. We recommend locating this control before carrying out the test. Not all alarm systems are the same, so we recommend contacting the manufacturer if you are unsure how to turn off the alarm.

Step 3: Staff briefing

It would be helpful to create a staff briefing telling them exactly what to do if the alarm goes off. We’ve put together some handy tips to help. As well as checking if the alarm works, this is an opportunity to ensure all staff know what the alarm sounds and looks like, a vital step for helping make sure they are able to respond when the alarm is raised.

Step 4: Pull the cord

Once you have chosen a suitable time to test the alarm on Tuesday 19th November pull the cord to check that it is working. Once you are happy that the alarm is in working order and staff are aware of the visual and audio signals associated with the alarm you can turn it off using the reset control, which should be located in the WC. If you have more than one accessible toilet we recommend testing each emergency alarm separately. 

If the alarm does not go off or if you identify any other problems we recommend speaking to the manufacturer / supplier or getting a professional in to identify the issue.