Evacuation Chairs Assembled by Disabled People

As a qualified access auditor that has been actively undertaking access audits since 2003 I still remain shocked at the complete ignorance of many of our largest businesses that are housed in multi story buildings that fail to consider the needs of wheelchair users or others unable to manage steps and stairs in getting out of their buildings.

In the early days they just simply didn’t address the issue and never made any provision for either an area of safe refuge or how they would get wheelchair users out in an emergency. Now they are finally beginning to realise that a disabled person left in a burning building is actually a problem!

Sadly we are still only half way to resolving the problem, many of those that have addressed the issue (and that’s probably only about 20%) have simply gone out and bought evacuation chairs and placed them at the top of stairs believing that their job is now done.

I should say at this point that there are great deal of people that simply don’t know what an evacuation chair is or how it works, I would suggest that you watch the video clip below to fully understand what an Evac chair is and how it is used. The video clip shows the manufacturing process being undertaken within the Middle East for the specialised company Evacusafe.

Evacusafe set up in the Middle East to give job opportunities to mobility impaired people in conjunction with the Zayed Higher Organization (ZHO) who provide opportunities for local people in the community that have special needs or mobility issues. The video clip shows a number of disabled staff members actively undertaking important roles in the manufacture of the companies evacuation chairs as well as demonstrations of the chairs in use during evacuation displays.

You would be surprised just how many staff members within a multi-storey buildings that have evacuation chairs simply don’t know what they are let alone know how to use them safely.

Thankfully there is a company that specialises in evacuation chairs along with providing dedicated training to ensure that the staff are fully capable of assisting the mobility impaired and wheelchair users safely out of the building. We can only hope that as companies like this promote their life-saving products more and more then we will eventually be safer disabled people visiting multi-storey buildings. Evacusafe can be contacted on 01256 332723 or click the evacuation chairs link.

My advice as a wheelchair user and as an access audit is next time you go into a multi-storey building ask the building manager or head of staff if they have evacuation chairs and if their staff are trained to use them. Remember that you will not be able to use the passenger lift in the event of a fire or other emergency!

Wheelchair users should seriously think how they will get out of a building just as much as they think about access and how they will get in!

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