Upgrade Your School’s Safety Plan With Evacuation Chairs

 In Blog

Schools are places for education and learning, which ideally should always be done in a safe and protected environment. Unfortunately, sometimes some events impact that safe learning environment. This is why schools must be prepared and have comprehensive safety plans.

In any building that holds a large number of people, it’s essential to have a building evacuation plan. This is especially true in schools, where much of the population is made up of children. Having an evacuation plan and practicing it is essential for the safety of students and staff.

Schools typically have multiple different safety plans dealing with different scenarios, from fire safety to lockdowns. But all too often, those plans don’t effectively consider the fact that different people have different levels of mobility.

In this post, we explore the need to upgrade a school’s safety plan, the role evacuation stair chairs can play, and how to use them to ensure all students and staff can leave the school in an emergency.

Why You Need an Up-to-Date School Safety Plan

School safety plans aren’t things that should ever be finished. They should be looked at regularly to see where they are lacking and where they can be improved. There is often a lack of thought about people with disabilities or reduced mobility. It’s been common practice to leave behind students who use wheelchairs to stay in the classroom during fire drills.

In the event their needs are considered, they are often left out of the creation of the plan. If no one with disabilities or reduced mobility has been involved in creating the plan, there can be significant gaps in safety access.

During evacuations, it can be unsafe to use elevators, and stairwells become the only source for safe evacuation. But stairs can’t be used safely by everyone, and people who use wheelchairs, scooters, crutches, canes and other equipment to assist with mobility are disproportionately affected.

Regular updating of safety plans allows for the opportunity to evolve the plan based on the needs of students and staff with different types of disabilities and levels of mobility, something best done in consultation with those who this portion of the plan impacts.

An empty classroom after the school has been evacuated

Why Do Schools Need to Be Evacuated?

Evacuations might seem like a rare occurrence, but they happen more often than most people think. There are many reasons why a school or other building might need to be evacuated, including

  • Fire or fire frill
  • Gas leaks
  • Earthquake, tornado or other natural disasters
  • Flood
  • Violence
  • Power outage

These are just some of the reasons why a school may need to be evacuated, and it’s important to be prepared for any of them, no matter how rare they may seem.

How Evacuation Chairs Can Help

Some people may not be able to use the stairs at all. Others may need to take their time and descend stairs slowly, which isn’t always possible during an evacuation.

Evacuation chairs are helpful tools to navigate stairs quickly and safely for students and staff with different levels of mobility, including people with disabilities, pregnant staff, people with medical conditions (asthma, angina, epilepsy, arthritis and more), people with temporary injuries and more. They can also be used to safely evacuate people with injuries or who are unconscious.

If you’ve never heard of an evacuation chair for stairs, imagine a stroller. However, instead of the four that make getting down the stairs difficult or impossible, the rear wheels on our evacuation chairs are easily pushed in when it comes time to maneouver down the stairs. Our chairs have friction tracks to better control the slide down the stairs, and the lightweight construction allows for just one person to operate it for a smooth and safe descent.

Once at ground level, it’s easy to pull out the rear wheels to return to transit mode to get to the designated safety area.

Evacuation chairs should be located in areas that are easily accessed during emergencies, like at the top of emergency stairwells and near accessible washrooms.

Proper Evacuation Chair Training

Evacuation chairs can be used to help many different people safely evacuate a building. However, purchasing a chair is just the first step. You’ll also need to ensure there are people who know how to use them. That’s where evacuation chair training comes in.

Our evacuation chairs are incredibly safe and easy to use, but some advanced knowledge is helpful. Emergencies are high-pressure situations where confusion can lead to valuable time being wasted. The proper training and preparation makes it easier to keep a level head in emergencies.

To use an evacuation stair chair, first you need to deploy it. Four easy steps need to be followed:

  1. Remove the cover and take the evacuation chair from its wall-mounted bracket.
  2. Undo the seat belt to lower the seat and track into position.
  3. Pull the rear wheels out until they lock.
  4. Pull out the adjustable pins and pull out the handle until it locks in place.

Once these steps have been followed, the chair is in transit mode and the passenger can sit in the chair. When it comes time to descend, a quick grip change is needed to switch from transit mode to descent mode. This pushes the rear wheels in, exposing the Evacuscape state-of-the-art tracking system that balances on steps and uses friction to limit the speed of the descent.

Everyone deserves the right to safety and security, especially at school. When building a safety plan for your school, consider purchasing an evacuation chair to ensure everyone can evacuate safely, no matter what. If you need help determining your evacuation chair needs or more pricing information, get in touch, and we’ll help you create your school’s safety plan that includes everybody.

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Senior hands gripping a cane with supportive hands assisting