Evacuation Chairs - Design And Function

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In the event of an emergency an employer's paramount concern will be the safe evacuation of all staff.
Should the company be based in a high-rise building with lifts and employ people with mobility problems then this can be a logistical challenge.
During emergencies it is quite common for lifts and escalators to be out of action and prepared companies will have evacuation chairs and trained staff available to assist with the safe exit of all.
How do evacuation chairs work? There are three basic design principles, evacuation chairs and transit chairs.
Evacuation chairs The first models employ a standard wheel chair seating configuration that is attached to a base, which includes a stair descending mechanism.
Although this may look unwieldy it can secure occupants and gently lower them down the stairs.
The base unit has a beam that effectively turns the steps into a ramp and with the aid of tracks or strong gripping wheels it carefully negotiates the steps.
Designs often incorporate gravity brakes that slowly release the chair to prevent it from plummeting down and despite their bulky looking construction they are quite agile and easily operated by a single person.
The seats come equipped with sturdy straps that are used to secure the person in the chair as they are evacuated.
When not in use many models of evacuation chair are collapsible and safely stored without causing disruption.
Transit chairs The main difference with transit chairs is that they do not always come equipped with wheels or tracks for descending stairs, instead they have a lightweight seat with handle attachments that are able to be carried safely by two or more people.
They are extremely light and easily deployed and have the added advantage of being able to get over fallen rubble and floor obstructions with fewer problems.
These come with harnesses that safely secure the person and their smaller size makes them ideal for cramped tight passageways and narrow stairwells.
Their simple design often makes them a cheaper option than stair descending chairs.
When not in use transit chairs can also be folded away and carefully stored out of harms way and where they are then available to be assembled, quickly and at a moments notice.
Evacuation sledge The evacuation sledge is perhaps not as comfortable an escape device as the chair options but just as effective in an emergency.
They are constructed with a duel foam base, of which the bottom layer is harder and sturdier, therefore able to take the impact of bumps, stairs and debris on the descent.
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