Research says elevators may be a safer option to stairs in a high-rise evacation

According to “Experts Reconsider Elevator as Fire Escape”, an article by Anthony M. DeStefano, elevators in skyscrapers may be used in future mass evacuations based on research by a special National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) panel that studied the evacuation of the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001.

“Don’t use elevators in fires is one of the most successful public education [safety] campaigns in history,” added Jason D. Averill, an expert on fire safety for NIST.  This idea brought about some of Emedco’s most successful signs in glow-in-the-dark and standard sign material – ‘In case of fire, do not use elevators, use stairways’ signsBut due to the events of Sept. 11 and taller buildings sprouting up all over the globe, elevators are being looked at as  safe evacuation option in mass evacuations, especially fires. Major national safety organizations, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), are preparing or proposing standards for the use of elevators in high-rise evacuations.

The elevator push comes after years of analysis of the Twin Towers showed how inadequate stairs were, said Edwin Galea, a professor at the University of Greenwich in England.  NFPA’s life safety code published in 2009 states elevators should be in “noncombustible hoistway” with fire resistant shafts separate from the building.

Currently there is no federal building code that includes elevators in an evacuation process so states and cities are coming up with their own requirements. For example, New York City requires all new high-rise construction to include impact-resistant fire stairs and stairwells must be spaced away from each other.  Also, protected/hardened elevator shafts and vestibules should be available where people can safely wait until it is their turn to evacuate.

It’s important to remember that the use of elevators is still being considered. Take the stairs in case of an emergency in most buildings.

Did you know about this OSHA regulation?

OSHA requires that your plan-of-action include a way to alert employees – including disabled workers, to evacuate or take action, and how to report emergencies.

Let’s break this down:

1. How do you alert employees including workers who may be hearing impaired? Try a dual Audible and Visual Signal Light that blasts a warning but also blinks brightly enough to catch everyone’s attention.

2. Evacuating and taking action is the easy part! Line your evacuation route with Exit Signs and Glow in the Dark Tape. Do not block fire extinguishers so they are easily visible. Establish a meeting place outside the building and make sure all employees know where it is and to whom to report once they get there.

3. Create an easy and fast way for employees to report emergencies. This procedure works well: in each department, identify an emergency point person and a backup.  The emergency point person is in charge of his/her department roster and ensures all employees from the department have left the building and arrived at the evacuation point. This person should also be the first point of contact for reporting emergencies.  Your emergency point person will contact the other departments to report the emergency and from that point, your company will begin to follow your emergency evacuation plan.

Follow the simple steps above to instantly comply with OSHA regulations.  Avoid fines or worse- injuries and lost time.

-ms.

The importance of glow in the dark material

Above are a series of photos showing a stairwells and an exit door in light and dark conditions. In each of these photos, you can clearly see the use of Emedco’s Glow-In-The-Dark Tapes and a couple Glow-In-The-Dark Signs.  The difference between the photos in the light and in the dark are striking – the Tapes are so bright, no other light is needed in the darkened stairwell.  During an evacuation, every second is crucial -by choosing products that glow in the dark, you’re making your exit routes safer for every person in your building.

Stylish evacuation marking

Every building is required to mark evacuation routes in case of an emergency – why not do it with style?

Emedco has a line of Interior Decor Signs that not only glow in the dark for safer evacuations, but contain braille for the visually impaired.  Basically you’re getting 3 signs in 1!

Why these signs are great:

  1. Interior Decor signs are Emedco’s upscale sign, perfect for offices or really any place that has a nicer image than the inside of  a warehouse.
  2. Adding Grade II Braille makes these signs compliant with ADA which improves the safety of the visually impaired who work or visit your building.
  3. Glo-Mor glow-in-the-dark material lights these signs up for over 6 hours and they meet 5 safe evacuation regulations.

The Glo-Mor Braille Interior Signs cannot be scratched or defaced, and they are safer in an emergency than standard non-glow signs.

Fire safety training is important at any age

Students at Albany High School were taught how to use fire extinguishers by firefighters themselves for expert training incomparable to videos or handouts. Starting fire safety training at a young age may increase the likelihood that the lessons will become second nature. If you’re looking to train employees, students, residents or anyone else, Emedco has the products you need to have effective training sessions:

Mark your Truss-type construction and protect firefighters

Trusses are fabricated components (constructed with diagonal members) made of wood and steel.  Although Truss structures are very safe and the smart choice when spanning a large open area, they collapse with less stress from a fire, thus putting firefighters in greater danger.  Marking Truss-type buildings with labels on entrances will allow firefighters to be prepared while fighting a fire in that structure. Trusses are covered by roof or floor systems so if a fire goes undetected for even a short time, these structures will be extremely damaged before help arrives.  New York State, New Jersey, Florida, Vermont and various cities across the country have developed truss codes for primarily new construction.  Other states and more cities are expected to follow suit.

NFPA released new edition of NFPA 1600® available for free on nfpa.org

NFPA 1600® Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs

“NFPA 1600 establishes a common, high level set of criteria for disaster and emergency management and business continuity programs to develop, implement, assess, and maintain these programs. The programs address management, planning, prevention, mitigation, implementation, response, recovery, testing and improvement.”

A major difference between the 2010 version and the 2007 version is omission of one chapter: Program Elements, and the creation of new chapters: Planning, Implementation, Testing and Exercise, and Program Improvement.  The contents of 2007’s Program Elements chapter was broken down and added to these new chapters, then expanded upon.

Chapter 4 – Program Management, has been elaborated to create specific guidelines for individuals who are leaders for their company’s disaster and emergency plans. Leadership and commitment has been added to this chapter along with performance objectives, finance and administration, and records management.

Chapter 5 – Planning, includes planning process, risk assessment (carried over from the former chapter 5), business impact analysis, mitigation, and more.

Chapter 6 – Implementation, includes much of what was Chapter 5 in 2007 along with new additions: employee assistance and support, Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), training and education.

Chapter 7 – Testing and Exercises reminds Emergency Leaders that practice makes perfect when it comes to implementing an evacuation plan.

Chapter 8 – Program Improvement has been added in order to recognize that emergency plans are “working” documents. As regulations and recommendations are updated by NFPA or there are changes in personnel at your facility, your emergency policy must be updated accordingly.   This chapter also calls for reviews after each incident to reevaluate your program and learn from lessons.

2010’s 1600 seems like a more thought-out version than the 2007 1600. Please make your safety officers aware of these updated changes.  Well-practiced emergency procedures keep employees safe from injury or even death – do not take these recommendations lightly.

Source: nfpa.org