Elevators for Emergency Evacuation and Egress

Roger E Howkins

Sunday 1st July 2001

Codes on a world-wide basis require new buildings, architects, developers and owners to provide provision for means of access to the building for citizens who have a disability, yet make no provision for the safe, rapid egress in an emergency evacuation, especially during fire conditions. Codes today consider that the passenger elevator to be incapable to fulfil this function, yet enlightened condes such as British Standard BS 5588 part 5 allow the fire-fighters to use an elevator which is designed to assist the fire-fighters to fight the fire. The paper will ask the questions, why cannot elevator systems in the "next generation" of building if correctly designed and risk assessment procedures are implemented, installed and commissioned and maintained should not be used for safe, emergency egress and evacuation? Also why are traditional methods of emergency egress considered safer when the potential hazards encountered during emergency evacuation conditions are greater?

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