Emergency Evacuation Chairs
These chairs allow someone with mobility difficulties to evacuate from a building safely with the help of a “Buddy”. Buddies are staff members who are trained in the use of the chairs. If it is necessary to use an evacuation chair a Buddy will retrieve the chair for the disabled person.
Students, if they want to, can ask a course colleague or friend if they would be willing to be trained. This can be arranged by contacting a Disability Adviser (01482 46 20 20 or email@example.com
Where required, there are Emergency Evacuation Chairs located on each floor of our buildings, or on both the floor above and below a floor in buildings with a large number of storeys.
To use an Emergency Evacuation Chair the disabled person must
- Be able to self-transfer into the Evacuation Chair*
- Have practiced in its use*
- Not exceed the weight limit of the chair, which is 133 kilograms (21 stone)*
* These will all be assessed as part of this questionnaire, or be arranged afterwards by a Disability Adviser.
Someone with mobility difficulties who is unable to use an Emergency Evacuation Chair may be able to use a StairMate instead (see the next section below).
Using the Emergency Evacuation Chair
Once a person has transferred into the Evacuation Chair they will be secured into it by a waist belt.
- It is important that the person sat in the chair keeps their hands held together in their lap as this minimises their instinct to grab the stair rail. This would be unsafe as it could cause the chair to tip over.
- If the disabled person experiences involuntary movements the chair is fitted with additional securing straps to prevent them causing any injury to themselves or affecting the safety of the chair.
- Once the disabled person is secure in the chair the Buddy will tip it gently backwards and push it to the head of the stairs.
Once at the head of the stairs the Buddy will control the descent using the friction runners on the chair. This step may be carried out by two Buddies, rather than just one.
- Once evacuated the Buddy will stay with the disabled person until the end of the incident.
It is quite safe to stop the chair on stairs as the friction runners can hold the chair and its occupant safely.
StairMates are similar to Emergency Evacuation Chairs; except that they are powered units that can both climb and descend stairs and require the disabled user to be seated in a wheelchair.
Typically they are used where someone exceeds the weight limit for the Emergency Evacuation Chair and/or they are unable to self-transfer.
The weight limit for a StairMate is 160KG (25.2 Stone) and they can be used with a variety of wheelchairs, provided they have handles attached to arms that do not fold.
The usage of the StairMates is exactly the same as that of an Emergency Evacuation Chair except that the disabled person using the system is sat in a wheelchair (their own or one supplied by the University) and the unit is powered.