An evacuation chair is a device designed to get a disabled person downstairs and out of a building safely in the event of an emergency evacuation, when lifts are out of action.
Developed in America in the early 80s, evac chairs have evolved considerably, and a number of models are now available. The themes which run through them are:
- they can generally be operated by one individual
- they remove any requirement for manual handling
- they do not require great physical strength on the part of the operator
- they allow the individual riding in them to travel smoothly up or down stairs under the control of just one trained individual.
At their most basic level, evac chairs such as the Evac Chair 300H MK4 consist of a robustly-constructed metal tubing frame and a canvas seat. They fold for ease of storage, and can be deployed in seconds.
More sophisticated models incorporate electric motors and tracks to grip any kind of stair surface, and there is even a model capable of evacuating an individual still in their own wheelchair. These powered evacuation chairs are sufficiently large to carry virtually any wheelchair, including powered models and mobility scooters.
An alternative to the chair is evacuation sheets. The evacuation sheets are for individuals unable to sit, but this requires two people to operate it.
When selecting an evac chair it is wise to consider the area in which you will need to move it. For example:
- are narrow corridors involved?
- what is the weight of the individual in need of assistance?
- do we need a powered evacuation chair or not?
- will we need only to come down stairs, or will we need to climb them from a basement too?
- will there be a need to cover longer distances on the flat, rather than just stairs?
Providing answers to all of these questions based on the circumstances in your own premises will enable you to select the right product from our range of emergency evacuation devices, with the help of product descriptions and technical specifications – but if you are in any doubt, we are always ready to provide help and advise.
And finally, we cannot overstress how important it is that your product selection includes the relevant training if there are not already people in your organisation with the necessary skills to use the chair you’re buying. Failure to do so could lead to evacuation chairs being used incorrectly – thus causing unnecessary problems in the event of an emergency evacuation.