Escape chair

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An escape chair [1] or evacuation chair [2] is a device manufactured for the smooth descent of stairways in the event of an emergency. The Evac Chair was invented in the United States in 1982. The single-user operation device does not require heavy lifting to evacuate a person.

At airports this equipment is being used to assist PRM's [3] during terminal evacuation.


The original Escape-Chair, with various models for various situations, addresses the need for an evacuation solution in case there is an emergency [4], and egress out of a structure or vessel becomes imperative.

The table below is based on the Escape-Chair Standard and the Comfort model for comparison.

Standard Comfort
Seat Belt 2 Level Telescopic extendable handle.
Head Strap Foot & Armrests
Wide Wheelbase For Enhanced Stability Ergonomic Dual Back Support
Height 102 cm Height 120 cm
Width 51 cm Width 57 cm
Depth 18 cm Depth 21 cm
Weight 10 kg Weight 13.5 kg
Payload 185 kg Payload 185 kg

Powered versions of Escape-Chairs are also available. By using the electro driven track system a person can be saved / moved up and down the stairs by only a single operator.

Enhanced models can have chairs that require two-person operation; however, these are more commonly used in ambulances. Lifting handles are used for descent and ascent of stairs. Caterpillar tracks are also used on the stairs.


United Kingdom[edit]

The DDA ACT[1] says that every person is to have a safe entrance into and egress from a building.

Another law regarding chairs is the RRFSO.[2] Created in 2005, this regulation states that fire officers are not required to enter buildings.

Failure to follow the above laws can result in serious issues. If a person was to perish in the building due to a lack of adequate evacuation equipment, the owners or operators of the building could be charged with Corporate manslaughter.[3]


  1. ^ DDA ACT, The DDA Act was created in 1995 and has been amended since, the latest amendment was in 2005
  2. ^ RRFSO. The RRFSO was created in 2005
  3. ^ "HSE: Corporate manslaughter".

4. [5] link to the leading evacuation chair specifications