How to Choose the Right Evacuation Chair For Your Needs

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Evacuation chairs are an essential safety product designed for anyone who may need assistance with safe evacuation. They are a necessary safety tool to include in homes, schools, workplaces, hospitals and essentially any building with multiple levels.

However, many people who are unfamiliar with evacuation chairs worry about choosing the right one. When you decide to purchase an evacuation chair for emergencies, how do you decide which one to get or what features you might need? We’ve got you covered with a handy guide of factors to consider and how to choose the right evacuation chair for your needs.

Why Would Someone Need an Evacuation Chair?

There are many different types of evacuations, and during many of them, staircases are the safest evacuation routes — and maybe the only evacuation route, as elevators are often shut down in emergency situations. The following are all situations which may require an evacuation:

  • Fire
  • Threats of violence
  • Earthquake
  • Flood
  • Power failure

However, as noted above, many people can not safely navigate stairs and require assistance. Some people have physical disabilities or injuries that may prevent them from using a staircase at all. Others, including seniors, pregnant people, people with visual impairments and different types of physical disabilities and injuries, may prevent them from using a staircase quickly and safely.

Having an easy-to-use and conveniently located evacuation chair ensures everyone can safely evacuate a building in an emergency.

Hand pushing a wheelchair

What to Consider When Looking For an Evacuation Chair

Choosing safe and reliable evacuation chairs might seem difficult at first. There are different models out there, and many offer bells and whistles that can make selecting one more challenging. Ultimately, there are a few key things to look for in a suitable chair:

  • Lightweight – While evacuation chairs should be located close to staircases, there may be situations where it needs to be carried to a person who needs it, like if someone is unconscious, for instance. Being able to carry the chair easily is critical in these situations.
  • Easy to Use – If you’re using an evacuation chair, it’s either in an emergency or when training for one. While training should be done to ensure designated operators feel comfortable using it, emergencies can cause panic and stress, so a chair that is easy to use is necessary.
  • Maneuverability – Many buildings have staircases with platforms between them, or you may have to climb stairs as well as descend. An evacuation chair should allow users to maneuver easily between different settings and situations.
  • Assistance Required – Some chairs require only one person, while others require two or more to operate. It’s often best to choose a chair requiring one person only to operate it, but this could vary by individual situation.
  • Safe Transfer – Some individuals will be able to transfer into an evacuation chair themselves, while others may need assistance. Different models might be easier or harder for users to get in or out of, something to take into consideration depending on your needs.

The Different Types of Chairs

If you are in need of a safe and easy to use evacuation chair, Evacuscape offers two models to suit different needs, the EC1 and EC2. They are both designed with reliability and safety at the forefront while also combining easy operation and comfort.

Both models are backed by our 10-year warranty for the frame and 1-year warranty for all wheels, tracks, and braking systems. In addition, we provide a protective cover, wall bracket, and training DVD, for safe storage and operation.

The EC1 model is our high quality and low cost option that’s designed to support up to 180 kg (400 lbs) while only weighing 12.5 kg (27.5lbs) itself.

The EC2 model also supports up to 180kg (400 lbs), but as it has extra features, it weighs slightly more at 14.5kg (32lbs)

Both models are equipped with the following features:

  • Single operator use
  • Emergency under seat light
  • Speed reducing V belt track
  • Lap safety belt
  • Head restraint strap
  • Solid padded seat and backrest
  • Locking rear wheel castors

In addition to the above features, the EC2 also comes equipped with the following:

  • Detachable front carry handle
  • Fail safe braking system
  • 5-point harness and head restraint strap

How to Choose the Right Chair

Ultimately, the right chair will be the right one for you and your needs. The EC1 is slightly lighter than the EC2, and is also more affordable, and some may prioritize these features. The EC2 is heavier due to the added features it has, which offer optimum safety. It’s important to consider your needs.

Are you looking for a chair to use in emergency situations at home for a specific person or are you a manager looking to ensure your workplace evacuation plan includes the needs of everyone? Everyone’s needs are different and this needs to be taken into account. If you are looking for an evacuation chair to provide safe evacuation for someone else – a loved one or coworker, for example – it’s important to include them in conversation and ask them about their needs.

Both of our chairs have the following features:

  • Require only one person to evacuate the evacuee safely
  • Light enough to be carried by anyone who is assisting someone with reduced mobility
  • Strong enough to take a person of up to 180 kg (400 lbs) safely down the stairs and can be used by a lightweight person to guide an evacuee heavier than themselves
  • Foldable into a compact size and can easily be stored in a convenient and accessible location via the wall-bracket system
  • Rubber tracks to reduce descent speed and won’t propel the evacuee forward
  • Sturdy construction and excellent design allow the chairs to be used as transit chairs

Whether you need evacuation chairs for your business, school, or home, we hope this guide has helped you make your decision. If you have further questions, please get in touch, and we’ll be happy to provide further guidance on how to decide on the right chair for you.

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A person pulling a fire alarm setting off an evacuationA blue skyline with a series of powerlines fading into the distance.