How do you use an evacuation chair?
With various models of tracked evacuation chairs on the market, it’s important for the operator to be familiar in setting up their particular chair.
Demonstrating you’re in control of the situation can go some way in imparting confidence to the person who has to rely on such equipment to exit a building during an emergency.
While there may differing features between manufactures chairs, the two that ensure safe and smooth operation are the rubberised tracks and extended handle. The tracks should be locked in position and the handle at the correct height. Other features could include support harness, armrests, footrests and head support/restraint.
Who can operate an escape/exit chair?
Usually, a nominated staff member is responsible for operating any emergecny escape equipment. Although some models of chair can be operated by a single person, often a team of two operatives can be far more efficient and ensure a safer operation – especially where stairs reinvolved. In addition, to which, an additional pair of eyes is always handy for looking out for hazards.
How do you use the chairs?
Regardless of this, its operation is the same. The chair is manoeuvred to the edge of the top the flight of stairs, with the occupant facing forwards. The following steps are then undertaken to descend safely:
- The operator’s hands are then placed on top of the handle.
- The chair is then tipped backwards on to its rear wheels, raising the front clear of the floor. A track crossbar may be available to put a foot on to assist in levering the chair back. It’s important not to tip the chair back too far as it will become heavy and difficult to control.
- Confidently, the chair is rolled forward over the top step which should place the tracks on the top two steps which ensure the chair is now in the correct position.
- The operator then applies pressure on the handle, pressing downwards in the direction of their feet with enough force to ensure the tracks stay in constant contact with the stairs. Too little and the back part of the track can lift off the stairs causing the descent to be less smooth.
- Once a landing or next level, the chair is manoeuvred to the next flight or the final exit point.
- Proceed to the designated assembly point in line with the local escape plan.
Once the situation is resolved, the chair can be returned to its storage position and location ready for the next emergency.
The ideal solution for anyone who may be responsible for operating an escape chair would be to attend a hands-on training course. This is a service provided by Evacusafe on a range of Evac chairs, not just the Evacusafe brand.
You’ll learn how to safely operate the equipment, how to follow best practice guidelines, what hazards to look out for, but more importantly how to make the evacuee feel safe and secure throughout the procedure. Our expert trainers will make you aware of the issues faced by those who suffer various mobility impairment issues. You’ll also be told about any current legislation which you need to be aware of. Furthermore, at the end of the course, you’ll be fully certified and recognised by RoSPA.