Exclusive: Evac+Chair discuss best evacuation products for all environment

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Evac+Chair is the original and global leader in the design, development and manufacture of emergency evacuation chairs. With over 40 years’ experience in the manufacture of life saving solutions Evac+Chair is dedicated to providing the mobility impaired with a safe and quick means of evacuation.

The Evac+Chair was invented by US citizen David Egan following an emergency evacuation in which he and his wife were involved. David’s wife had suffered with polio as a child, which had caused her mobility to be impeded and when they were forced to evacuate from the 38th Floor of a Manhattan building, David had to carry her to safety.  Recognising the need for a product to assist in the quick and safe evacuation of the mobility impaired, David set about designing a solution that would do just that.

Today, the iconic blue and yellow Evac+Chair is recognised worldwide; exported to 70 countries, across 6 continents and has assisted in saving countless lives. The Chair has earned a well-deserved place in the 9/11 memorial museum for assisting in the evacuation of mobility impaired people, during the twin towers attack.

Whilst the fundamental aspects of the design of the Evac+Chair has been unaltered over the past 40 years, customer insight and investment in R&D has led to the product range being expanded and enhanced, providing greater safety and comfort to both the operator and passenger. Independent research carried out by the University of Greenwich concluded that an Evac+Chair provides the safest, quickest means of escape for the mobility impaired, compared with other types of evacuation products.

In 2020, Evac+Chair International moved into a new state-of-the-art headquarters in the West Midlands. The 38,000 square foot purpose-built facility has enabled Evac+Chair to implement enhancements to the productivity and manufacturing processes, however every chair remains hand made.  With ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 accreditations, Evac+Chair prides itself on its superior product quality and every chair undergoes rigorous quality checks, throughout manufacture and before dispatch.

Whilst many consider a mobility impairment to be a permanent disability, it can also be temporary, such as a sporting injury, pregnancy or even panic attack brought about by an emergency evacuation. Therefore, having an evacuation chair is vital for all commercial buildings, to ensure everyone can be safely evacuated in the event of a fire, or other emergency. Evac+Chair products not only provide a safe means of escape for the mobility impaired but protect everyone, as a mobility impaired person evacuating without assistance may impede the whole evacuation process, and as a result put others’ lives along with their own, at risk. 

The Regulatory Form Order for Fire Safety 2005 states, it is no longer the responsibility of the Fire Service to facilitate the evacuation of non-domestic premises.  It is the designated ‘responsible person’ (the person having control of the building, or a degree of control; i.e.  landlords, business owners, employers, facilities managers or risk assessors) who must ensure that everyone can be evacuated quickly and safely in an emergency.

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers have a duty of care to assess any risks that affect the health and safety of employees and put in place appropriate procedures to be followed ‘in the event of serious and imminent danger’. The responsible person must carry out a regular review of the risk of fire on the premises and identify any issues, following which a plan must be developed to mitigate these risks, this should include the planning for the evacuation of those with disabilities.

Whilst Evac+Chair products are suitable for all environments including offices, hotels, schools, sports stadia, retail outlets, healthcare and factories, each chair has a unique set of features that make it more suitable for certain environments. To help ensure you select the correct product Evac+Chair offer a FREE evacuation assessment. Conducted by one of their nationwide consultants who will visit your site and make recommendations as to the most suitable evacuation chair for the building type and the most effective installation points. In addition, Evac+Chair offer training courses to ensure operators are confident in the deployment and operation of an evacuation chair, providing a safe and smooth emergency evacuation.

For more information or to book a FREE evacuation assessment, contact Evac+Chair: Telephone: +44 (0)121 706 6744 | Email: [email protected] | Website: evacchair.co.uk

This article was originally published in the May edition of IFSJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here

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