An evacuation chair is a very handy piece of equipment, allowing wheelchair users, injured or unconscious people to be evacuated from your premises safely and quickly in an emergency. They are a key piece of Fire Safety Equipment in buildings where workers are situated across multiple floors.
There a few different evacuation chairs on the market, with distinct features and specifications, so choosing the right one for you, your staff and your premises can be tricky – but we’re here to help.
Perhaps the easiest way to think about an evacuation chair is as a combination of a stretcher and a wheelchair. The person who can be strapped securely into the chair and then moved up and down steps, stairs and kerbs quickly, as well as along flat or sloped surfaces.
This is made possible by having wheels on the base of the chair and skids along the back. When the chair reaches the staircase the unit can be tipped back, shifting the weight onto the skids and allowing for a smooth and controlled descent/ascent.
When selecting an evacuation chair, keep in mind your storage space – if you have limited space or are looking at a wall-mounted compact option, you’ll need to make sure it is easy to access and assemble/unfold in an emergency situation.
If your premises are at ground level, you might consider a transit-style evacuation chair. These are more closely aligned with the typical wheelchair and let you safely evacuate injured persons.
Finally, consider who will be operating the evacuation chair. If your business is small, or particularly spread out in terms of staff, then you should look at models that can be used by a single operator.
While it is best practice that any evacuation chair be operated by a minimum of two people, if this is not likely to be achievable then make sure you have a chair that can safely be handled alone.
If you have any questions about evacuation chairs, or would like further advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly and knowledgeable experts who will be more than happy to help you.
Richard O'Connor is a Director at First Mats. He has deep knowledge in areas like Manufacturing, Warehousing, Marine, and Health & Safety. Richard's insights have been featured in well-known publications such as Bloomberg Business, The Sun, and Reader's Digest. His blend of industry expertise and passion for sharing makes him a sought-after voice in his fields.