Choosing the Right Evacuation Chair: A Comprehensive Guide

Choosing the Right Evacuation Chair: A Comprehensive Guide. Image shows an evacuation chair mounted on the wall at the top of some stairs.

Choosing the Right Evacuation Chair: A Comprehensive Guide

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

In emergency situations, it’s important to have a quick and safe way to evacuate individuals who may have mobility issues. That’s where an evacuation chair comes into play. However, not all evacuation chairs are created equal. In fact, choosing the right evacuation chair can be a daunting task for many. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you navigate the world of evacuation chairs and find the perfect fit for your needs.

From understanding the different types of chairs available to determining the weight capacity and ease of use, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make an informed decision. So, whether you’re a business owner looking to ensure the safety of your employees or a homeowner preparing for emergencies, read on to learn how to choose the right evacuation chair for your situation.



Importance of Choosing the Right Evacuation Chair

Choosing the right evacuation chair is essential to ensure the safety of individuals in emergency situations. These chairs can be the difference between a safe evacuation and a disastrous one. It’s important to consider the needs of your building and the people who will be using the chair when making your choice. Factors such as weight capacity, manoeuvrability, and ease of use are all crucial in choosing the right chair.

Another important consideration is the layout and design of your building. You need to ensure that the chair you choose is compatible with the layout of your building to ensure a smooth and safe evacuation process. For example, some chairs can traverse sweeping stairs with a curve, while other are only designed for stairs that are straight with 90-degree bends.

Finally, it’s essential to consider the maintenance and upkeep of the chair, as well as the training and certification required for users. By taking all these factors into consideration, you can choose the right evacuation chair for your situation and ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Image shows a type of evacuation chair used for a person in a wheelchair.

Types of Evacuation Chairs

There are several different types of evacuation chairs available on the market. The most common types are manual chairs, powered chairs, and track chairs. Manual chairs are operated by a person helping the chair glide down the stairs, while powered chairs use a battery to power the chair up and down stairs. Track chairs use a track system to transport individuals up and down stairs.

Manual chairs are generally the most affordable option, but they require a trained operator to use them safely. Powered chairs are more expensive but are easier to use and require less physical effort. Track chairs are the most expensive option but are the most versatile and can be used in a wide variety of situations. Ultimately, the type of chair you choose will depend on your specific needs and budget.

Weight Capacity and Safety Features

Weight capacity and safety features are crucial considerations when choosing an evacuation chair. You need to ensure that the chair can safely transport the individuals who will be using it. Most chairs have a weight capacity of around 25 stone (160kg/350lbs), but it’s essential to check the specifications of the chair to ensure it can safely transport the individuals who will be using it.

In addition to weight capacity, safety features such as brakes, seat belts, and headrests are also important considerations. Brakes are essential to ensure the chair stays in place during loading and unloading, while seat belts and headrests ensure the safety and comfort of individuals during transport.

Some chairs can be fitted with additional seat padding, providing a more comfortable exit from the building in an emergency. It’s essential to ensure that the chair you choose has the necessary safety features to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Manoeuvrability and Ease of Use

Manoeuvrability and ease of use are also crucial considerations when choosing an evacuation chair. The chair needs to be easy to manoeuvre, even in tight spaces, to ensure a smooth and safe evacuation process. It’s important to consider the weight of the chair and its dimensions to ensure it can fit through doorways and down staircases.

Ease of use is also important, particularly in emergency situations where time is of the essence. The chair should be easy to set up and use, even for individuals who are not trained operators. Finally, it’s essential to consider the storage and portability of the chair, particularly if you have limited storage space.

Image shows one type of evacuation chair being turned on a staircase.

Compatibility with Your Building’s Layout and Design

The layout and design of your building are important considerations when choosing an evacuation chair. You need to ensure that the chair you choose is compatible with the layout of your building to ensure a smooth and safe evacuation process. Factors such as the width of staircases and doorways, the presence of handrails, and the incline of the stairs can all affect the type of chair you need.

It’s essential to consider these factors when choosing a chair to ensure that the chair can be used safely and effectively in your building. You may also want to consider purchasing multiple chairs to ensure that you have one available on each floor of your building. Some businesses opt for a “hit-and-miss” approach, installing chairs on alternating floors. This can be particularly cost-effective when the chairs are not being allocated to an individual employee.

Maintenance and Upkeep Considerations

Maintenance and upkeep are important considerations when choosing an evacuation chair. You need to ensure that the chair is well-maintained and in good working order to ensure its safety and effectiveness.

Evacuation chair showing last maintenance inspection sticker.

Officially recognised within the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) as a Class 1 Medical Device (Medical Devices Directive (93/42/EEC)), regular maintenance and inspections are essential to ensure that the chair is in good condition and ready to use in an emergency. As such the recognised service & maintenance schedule is 12 monthly, or more frequently depending on use.

Most evacuation chairs don’t “lift” people but carry them. (If they did lift people, that would fall under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)). Equipment that lifts people has a 12 monthly service & maintenance schedule, or more frequently depending on use.

It’s also important to consider the cost of maintenance and upkeep when choosing a chair. Some chairs may require more maintenance than others, which can add up over time. It’s essential to consider the long-term costs of owning and maintaining the chair to ensure that it fits within your budget.

User Training and Certification

User training and certification are also important considerations when choosing an evacuation chair. It’s essential to ensure that anyone who may need to use the chair in an emergency is properly trained and certified to do so. This includes employees, residents, and other individuals who may be in your building.

Training provides individuals with the knowledge and skills they need to use the chair safely and effectively in an emergency. By ensuring that users are properly trained and certified, as well as showing due diligence, you can ensure the safety of everyone involved in an emergency. This is something that is particularly important given the 2023 changes to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and implementation of the Building Safety Act.

There are many different brands of evacuation chairs available on the market. Some of the most popular brands include Evac+Chair, Safety Chair, Stryker, and Ferno. Each brand has its own unique features and benefits, and it’s important to consider these when choosing a chair.

Image showing a selection of different types of evacuation chairs

Evac+Chair is one of the most popular brands of evacuation chairs. They offer a range of manual and powered chairs, as well as a variety of accessories. Stryker is another popular brand, known for their innovative design and high-quality products. Ferno is a trusted brand in the healthcare industry, offering a range of evacuation chairs and other medical equipment.

Ultimately, the brand you choose will depend on your specific needs and budget. It’s important to research different brands and read reviews to ensure that you are choosing a reputable and reliable brand.

Conclusion

Choosing the right evacuation chair is essential to ensure the safety of individuals in emergency situations. By considering factors such as weight capacity, safety features, manoeuvrability, and ease of use, you can choose the right chair for your specific needs. It’s also important to consider the compatibility of the chair with your building’s layout and design, as well as the maintenance and upkeep required.

Finally, user training and certification are crucial to ensure that anyone who may need to use the chair in an emergency is properly trained and certified to do so. By taking all these factors into consideration, you can choose the right evacuation chair for your situation and ensure the safety of everyone involved.

This is where we at Chris Garland training can help. We offer a range of evacuation equipment training courses including our Evacuation Chair Train the Trainer course alongside our Evacuation Chair Operator and Assistant course. Get in touch if you have a specific requirement not listed on our course page and we will do all we can to accommodate your requirements.  


Choosing the Right Evacuation Chair: A Comprehensive Guide

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