When to use elevators in an emergency evacuation
The standard advice not to use elevators/lifts during an emergency evacuation is being challenged by a new ISO technical report. This reveals that lifts may be viable escape options, and provides a decision chart to help identify risks.
“Over the past few years there has been considerable debate regarding the risks and hazards associated with using lifts during evacuations,” says Derek Smith, project leader for the report (ISO/TR 25743).
“As buildings get taller and larger, determining the extent of these risks and what can be done to minimize them, is even more pressing. Particularly as lifts can help persons with restricted mobility and other problems to evacuate buildings with relative ease. And in some special cases, depending on the building’s size and design, lifts may also significantly reduce general evacuation time,” continues Mr. Smith.
The report, ‘ISO/TR 25743:2010, Lifts (elevators) – Study of the use of lifts for evacuation during an emergency’, investigates and highlights the main risks associated with using lifts to evacuate persons in various types of emergencies: fires, explosions, chemical or biological attacks, flooding, lighting or storm damage, earthquakes and gas leakage.
ISO/TR 25743 was produced in collaboration with lift and other specialists. Its key objective is to provide building designers with a decision-making process to determine whether a given design can enable the safe use of lifts in the event of an emergency for a particular building. The report can be applied to lifts and buildings of any size, whether new or existing.