Perspectives of Occupants with Mobility Impairments on Fire Evacuation and Elevators [open pdf - 5MB]
From the Abstract: "Safe evacuation during a fire or other catastrophic event is crucial for the safety of the building's occupants. Since the tragic loss of life in the World Trade Center disaster, efforts have refocused on the provision of safe and efficient evacuation procedures, especially for occupants who cannot negotiate exit stairs without assistance. Several evacuation options have been designed specifically for people with mobility impairments, including occupant evacuation elevators (OEEs). The purpose of this report is to provide guidance to assist designers, facility managers, and fire emergency personnel on how they might improve designs, technologies, and emergency procedures for safer evacuation of occupants with mobility impairments during fire emergencies. [...] The results of this study lead to guidance on evacuation planning and procedures, the use of existing elevators for evacuation of people with mobility impairments, and the use of occupant evacuation elevators. This guidance highlights the importance of reducing anxiety about fire evacuation and increasing trust in the occupant evacuation elevator system via a variety of means, including education and consultation in preparation for the evacuation, information and attention to occupant needs while the evacuation is taking place, and two-way feedback and discussions afterwards. Key to all of these issues is the need to include those with mobility impairments in the planning and execution of fire evacuations and to facilitate their ability for self-evacuation as much as is practicable."
NIST Technical Note 1923
National Institute of Standards and Technology: http://www.nist.gov/