Under current legislation, it is the responsibility of the employer or building operator to ensure that their business complies with fire safety, health and safety and equal opportunity requirements. If you employ mobility impaired persons, the responsibility of ensuring their safe escape from a multi-storey building in the event of an emergency, for example fire, can be daunting. The use of lifts in an emergency is usually not permitted and the escape route will therefore be over stairs.
There are a number of evacuation solutions available in this situation. Safelincs offers a wide range of emergency evacuation chairs to match different types of stairs and gradients. All of our evacuation chairs have the ability to descend flights of stairs with ease, ensuring a smooth and stress-free emergency escape for the passenger. For the the Evac+Chair 300H MK5, 500, and 600H MK5 evacuation chairs, this is achieved through the use of specially designed friction belts. Taking into account the distribution of the chair’s weight and load, the friction belts ensure that the chair does not slip or accelerate too rapidly during stair descent. When the passenger has reached level ground, the operator simply deploys the back wheels and pushes the chair to the safe assembly point.
The Evac+Chair 300H MK5, 500 and 600H MK5 emergency evacuation chairs have a number of features to provide comfort and support to the user. The “sling style” seat combined with the forehead restraint and safety buckles allow for the passenger to sit back in the chair without the worry of being tipped forward during descent down a flight of stairs. The material of the sling seat is padded, ensuring user comfort. For some mobility impaired persons, the movement from a wheelchair to a sling style seat can prove a difficult task. The Evac+Chair comfy seat has been designed to clip easily on to the 300H, 440 and 600H evacuation chairs (including MK4 and MK5 models), which provides a flat surface ideal for stability and support when mounting the evacuation chair. The Evac+Chair comfy seat can be purchased as a retrofit.
Other evacuation chair accessories available are the Evac+Chair stand and storage cabinet. These products are designed for use with the 300H emergency evacuation chair and are suitable for internal use. The evacuation chair stand is ideal in locations where wall mounting is not an option. The evacuation chair storage cabinet is a popular accessory used in schools, prisons and other applications where tampering may be an issue. The cabinet is fitted with a secure key lock and can either be wall mounted or left free-standing. Both the stand and the storage cabinet, paired with the photoluminescent sign, help to highlight the location of the emergency evacuation chair to all occupants of the building. They also help to deter unauthorised movement from the chair’s strategically placed position.
Since the introduction of the original Evac+Chair 300H emergency evacuation chair, the manufacturers evolved the chair’s features and produced five more chairs to suit the needs of different buildings and users. The 500 emergency evacuation chair has the ability to cope with a higher passenger payload of 440lbs/200kg, meaning that the chair can cater for a heavier person. The specially designed friction belts have also been developed so that it is suitable for use on regular and steep 45° stairs.
The 600H evacuation chair carries the traditional benefits of the 300H model, with the addition of two extra handles suitable for up to 4 operators as needed in the event of emergency. The inclusion of two additional handles means that the 600H chair can be used for escape locations with difficult access i.e. unmoveable obstructions, so that the passenger and chair can be lifted until the evacuation stairway is reached. As well as for use at locations with difficult access, the 600H evacuation chair is typically installed where you may need to go up flights of stairs for escape e.g. from basement level. The additional handles allow for the mobility impaired person to be carried, until the wheels and/or motion friction belts can be used again.
Next, Evac+Chair produced the IBEX TranSeat 700H evacuation chair designed to ascend as well as descend stairs. The IBEX TranSeat has a top extendible handle, and the load bearing tracks mean that no heavy lifting is required on stairway ascent. During ascent, the operators release the brake that may have been previously set for descent, so that they do not experience any restrictions when moving the passenger up the stairs.
Narrow stairways were then addressed with the 110 Narrow Aisle evacuation chair. Using the same friction belt principle as the 300H for a control descent, the narrower 450mm frame of 110 can still safely transport a passenger up to an impressive 150kg. Older premises with narrow spaces that may be problematic for other evacuation chairs can still be catered for.
Most recently, the 900H Power motorised evacuation chair has brought battery technology to the range so that moving persons upstairs to safety is now as easy as taking them downstairs. Intuitive design provides the operator with fine control of the speed and direction of the powerful 200W motor, ensuring the passenger is always safe. With the capacity to traverse 150 flights of stairs on a single charge, operators need not worry about fatigue while evacuating large numbers of people.
It is important that operators are aware of the correct handling of any emergency evacuation chair to ensure the safety of the passenger and to avoid any injury or strain during use. Safelincs offers on site evacuation chair training, carried out by experienced and professionally qualified trainers. The certificated course includes both theoretical and practical training tasks and is available for a maximum number of 6 participants per session. You can book the evacuation chair training online or call our dedicated customer service team on 0800 612 6537.