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Emergencies can happen at any time, and being prepared for them is crucial. One essential tool for ensuring safe and efficient evacuation during emergencies is an evacuation chair. In this article, we will explore what evacuation chairs are, their importance, the different types available, and key features to consider when choosing one.

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We will also discuss proper use and maintenance to guarantee optimal performance. Let’s dive right in!

Evacuation Chair

An evacuation chair, also known as an emergency evacuation chair or a stair chair, is a specially designed device used to transport individuals with mobility impairments down stairs or across uneven surfaces during an emergency. These chairs provide a safe and efficient means of escape for people who may be unable to use stairs or exit a building unassisted.

Why Are Evacuation Chairs Important?

Emergency Situations

Evacuation chairs are crucial during emergency situations, such as fires, earthquakes, or terrorist attacks, where swift and orderly evacuation is necessary. They enable individuals with mobility impairments or injuries to exit the building safely and quickly, reducing the risk of further harm.

Mobility Impairments

People with mobility impairments, such as the elderly, pregnant women, or those with disabilities, may find it challenging to evacuate a building quickly during an emergency. Evacuation chairs provide a solution for safely and efficiently transporting these individuals to safety.

Legal Requirements

Many countries have legal requirements in place to ensure the safety of all building occupants, including those with mobility impairments. Evacuation chairs are often required as part of a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan, ensuring that all individuals can evacuate safely and promptly.

Types of Evacuation Chairs

There are several types of evacuation chairs available, each with its own unique features and benefits. Let’s explore the most common ones:

Stair-Tracking Evacuation Chairs

These chairs feature a tracking system that allows them to glide smoothly down stairs with minimal effort from the operator. Stair-tracking chairs provide a comfortable and secure ride for the user and are suitable for most staircases.

Sled-Type Evacuation Chairs

Sled-type chairs use friction-reducing materials to slide down stairs, providing a fast and efficient evacuation method. They typically require more operator control and may not be suitable for all staircases or users with certain medical conditions.

Carry-Type Evacuation Chairs

Carry-type chairs are designed to be carried by one or more operators, rather than sliding or gliding down the stairs. They may be suitable for situations where stairs are too narrow or steep for other chair types but can be more physically demanding for the operators.

Key Features to Consider When Choosing an Evacuation Chair

When selecting an evacuation chair, it’s essential to consider several key features to ensure the chair meets your specific needs and requirements:

Weight Capacity

Evacuation chairs come with varying weight capacities. Ensure the chair you choose can accommodate the intended users’ weight to guarantee their safety and comfort during the evacuation process.

Ease of Use

An evacuation chair should be user-friendly for both the operator and the individual being evacuated. Look for chairs with clear instructions, easy maneuverability, and features that allow for quick deployment during an emergency.

Storage and Portability

Evacuation chairs should be easily stored and quickly accessible in the event of an emergency. Opt for chairs that are lightweight and have compact storage options, such as wall-mounted brackets or storage cabinets.

Safety Features

Safety should be a top priority when choosing an evacuation chair. Look for chairs with features such as secure harnesses, sturdy construction, anti-slip materials, and braking systems to ensure the user’s safety during evacuation.

Proper Use and Maintenance of Evacuation Chairs

To ensure your evacuation chair functions optimally during an emergency, follow these guidelines:


Proper training is essential for those responsible for operating evacuation chairs. Ensure that all designated operators receive comprehensive training on the correct use of the chair, as well as regular refresher courses to maintain their skills.

Inspection and Maintenance

Regularly inspect and maintain your evacuation chair according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. This includes checking for any signs of wear and tear, ensuring all moving parts are functioning correctly, and keeping the chair clean and free from debris.


Evacuation chairs are a critical tool for ensuring the safe and efficient evacuation of individuals with mobility impairments during emergency situations. By understanding the different types of chairs available, considering key features, and ensuring proper use and maintenance, you can provide a safe and effective evacuation solution for everyone in your building.


Are evacuation chairs suitable for all types of staircases?

While some evacuation chairs are designed to work on most staircases, it’s essential to choose a chair that is compatible with the specific staircases in your building. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine if a chair is suitable for your stairs.

Can evacuation chairs be used outdoors?

Some evacuation chairs are designed for both indoor and outdoor use. It’s crucial to choose a chair that meets your specific evacuation needs and is suitable for the environment in which it will be used.

How many evacuation chairs should I have in my building?

The number of evacuation chairs needed will depend on the size of your building, the number of occupants, and any specific requirements for individuals with mobility impairments. Consult your local fire safety regulations and conduct a thorough risk assessment to determine the appropriate number of chairs for your building.

Do I need special training to use an evacuation chair?

Yes, proper training is crucial for those responsible for operating evacuation chairs. Ensure that all designated operators receive comprehensive training on the correct use of the chair and participate in regular refresher courses to maintain their skills.

How often should I inspect and maintain my evacuation chair?

Regular inspection and maintenance are essential to ensure your evacuation chair remains in optimal working condition. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and conduct inspections at the recommended intervals.