Evacuation chairs come in a variety of designs, but they are all intended to make it easier for those with limited mobility to ascend or descend stairs in an emergency. With a cover on top, they are most often seen at offices or hotels and frequently seem to have never been used. Green guide signs with a large pictogram of a person being escorted downstairs on a chair are used to mark the location of evac chairs.
It’s simple to think of evacuation chairs as dust collectors, but they guarantee that persons with all kinds of permanent or temporary mobility impairments may evacuate safely together with everyone else during a fire or similar disaster when the elevator cannot be used.
What exactly are evacuation chairs all about?
It’s possible for evacuation chairs to resemble a hybrid of a chair, stretcher, and wheelchair. A stretcher is unsuitable on tiny stairwells, and a wheelchair is too heavy to push down a flight of steps in a manner that is safe or pleasant for the person in it, thus a specifically built equipment is required.
Although they are wheeled and feature straps and grips to keep the evacuees safe while being maneuvered out of the building, evacuee chairs are substantially lighter than a typical wheelchair. An evacuation chair, as opposed to a stretcher, enables the staircase to support the evacuee’s weight primarily rather than the person pushing. To make the procedure as easy as possible, most people can handle two staircases at once. When not in use, they are small enough to hang up on a wall and are easy for someone with little experience to put up.
Gravity is a big aid for an operator going down, but what about stopping or going up steps to get off a basement floor? There are evac chairs with powered units that regulate movement up or down and others that feature a built-in hydraulic brake mechanism to control the descent to provide a person greater control.
The role played by evacuation chairs
A person with a mobility disability may use evacuation chairs to assist them stand up or descend stairs during an evacuation. The majority of chairs are controlled by a single person, who is required to undergo annual training and practice sessions.
DirectAccessgp noted that participating in the test runs will also be advantageous for the possible evacuee. Learning to handle the scenario as a pair might be helpful since the actual thing can be difficult for both parties. If there is a genuine emergency, the committed worker should be able to rapidly deploy the evac chair and, if required, assist the passenger in getting out of their wheelchair. This needs to happen near to the evacuation zone where people may seek safety from the fire.
Once the passenger is restrained, the appropriate procedure should be followed to move them downstairs or upstairs. Because different chair designs are utilized in different ways, training is crucial.
Do I need an emergency chair?
Although evac chairs are not specifically listed in the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act, a company may nevertheless be in violation of both this law and the 2010 Equality Act even if they are not present on the premises. This is due to the fact that the law specifically mentions limiting handicapped people’s access to particular portions of the building. Therefore, in addition to endangering employee safety, a company that does not provide access for those who have mobility issues is likely in violation of its legal requirements.
How do PEEP escape strategies work?
Every responsible company takes precautions to ensure worker safety, and every team member needs access to a secure evacuation route. Whether they are physically capable or not, everyone should know what to do when an alarm has been set off.
Personal Emergency Evacuation Preparations, often known as PEEPs, are individualized plans for those who may need help to flee swiftly in an emergency. Team members with the following conditions may need a PEEP or a temporary PEEP:
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Hearing impairment; a broken limb; asthma; vision issues; restricted movement; late-stage pregnancy.
The best strategy for a safe exit should be devised in collaboration with the management when the employee informs them of their need for a PEEP.
Instruction on using the evacuation chair
It goes without saying that any organization with office space made up of several story buildings would greatly benefit from regular Evacuation Chair training. Your duties under the Fire Safety Order, the Equality Act, and the Health & Safety at Work regulations must be met in full by making sure that your personnel are constantly aware of the best practices when it comes to carrying out an evacuation of any mobility impaired, wounded, or handicapped individual.
Even while many organizations include evacuation chair training into their yearly fire safety plans, many firms often forget about this form of training, particularly refresher courses. The staff members who are in charge of carrying out the evacuations of any persons with mobility impairments during an emergency may find it extremely simple to forget how to use the equipment if it is not utilized on a regular basis, which in turn has a negative impact on their confidence.
Mobility issues are one of the most prevalent impairments, with roughly 16% of working individuals having a handicap, according to the Gov.uk website. This indicates that those who have mobility issues are by no means a small group. Employers and company owners must plan ahead to keep them secure. Making sure an evac chair is convenient to use in an emergency in buildings with stairs is a crucial step in doing this. Make sure that you purchase the best lightweight evacuation chairs, and you will not have to face any major issues with them at all.