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News story: Experts Reconsider Elevator as Fire Escape

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  • News story: Experts Reconsider Elevator as Fire Escape

    An interesting article that examines the research that's going on looking at using elevators for mass evacuation, including fires, in high rise buildings. This goes against the grain of not using elevators that we've had for so many years. What do you think? Is it worth the risk? Would you use an elevator during a fire emergency? Is the technology there to safely evacuate using elevators?

    http://www.firehouse.com/topic/firef...or-fire-escape

  • #2
    Would I? NO,unless it was a FD controlled one. T.C.

    Comment


    • #3
      Depending on building construction; absolutely. There is no reason unaffected elevator banks need to go into fire service.
      Add fire rated elevator lobby's, self closing lobby doors, and a pressurized hoistway, you have a very safe and efficient means of evacuating a high-rise. The Archille's heel to this is elevator power. Kill the building power, unless they are on a dedicated emergency power grid, they are done. With the possibility of disastrous consequences...
      My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
      "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
      George Mason
      Co-author of the Second Amendment
      during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
      Elevator Rescue Information

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      • #4
        This was an interesting article. Certainly, elevator technology is better and safer today that when Otis invented them. I can see that as long as the elevator is functioning safely, they could be used for evac.
        I just wonder how many people, after being told to use the elevators for evac, would stand in front of the elevator doors waiting for one to arrive when they could be using the stairs instead to save themselves. What if that elevator never arrives at their floor because of power or mechanical failure or it is taken over for FD operations? How would those people standing there know to take the stairs because the elevator isn't coming to them? I see a lot of precious time being wasted.

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        • #5
          another issue that would need to be addressed is the over crowding of the elevators. how do you orderly load the elevators with paniced people? How do you control a full elevator to not stop at every floor? How do keep chaos from taking over in the lobbies?

          I think the problem is not as much with the technology of the elevator, but more lies with the logistics of the controled use of them during an uncontrolled situation.

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          • #6
            how do you keep people from waiting for the elevator when the should be evacuating? How do you get the elevator to start at the floors closest to the fire to start evacuating?

            I can see it for the disabled, but I just find it hard to believe the stairs are not faster. Especially in a high rise situation where getting a few floors below the fire puts you in pretty safe spot.

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            • #7
              another issue that would need to be addressed is the over crowding of the elevators.
              That is limited by design. There really isn't physically enough room in the cab to exceed the rated weight with persons
              how do you orderly load the elevators with paniced people?
              Starting under the premise that humans are idiots? LOL
              How do you control a full elevator to not stop at every floor?
              That is already addressed by a load-weigher circuit. Most, if not all, hi-rise elevators employ this as part of the group dispatching program
              How do keep chaos from taking over in the lobbies?
              You can't
              Good questions. Many of the same concerns came up with the advent of "areas of refuge".
              My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
              "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
              George Mason
              Co-author of the Second Amendment
              during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
              Elevator Rescue Information

              Comment


              • #8
                On the over crowding lines I was thinking of the room for people not so much for the weight. I have images of the station night club fire in my head. People piled on top of each other in the doorway. Instead of being outside on an exit door, this time the are 20 floors up in an elevator doorway. the floors below the fire floor might not have this problem, but what about the fire floor and above?

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                • #9
                  Unfortunately elevators are like traffic lights. Yes they are automatic with sensors and logic. But sometimes there is nothing automated you can do that will replace a human running it. If elevators are to be effeciently used for building evacuation in a crowded situation, it would be best to place them in fire service and have a firefighter operate the cars manually.
                  Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nmfire View Post
                    Unfortunately elevators are like traffic lights. Yes they are automatic with sensors and logic. But sometimes there is nothing automated you can do that will replace a human running it. If elevators are to be effeciently used for building evacuation in a crowded situation, it would be best to place them in fire service and have a firefighter operate the cars manually.
                    That's where I was going with it. Along with the fact MOST aren't pressurized or fire exposure protected. I'm OK with the CONCEPT,I just think there are a LOT of hurdles to overcome. T.C.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm not an elevator guy, so I don't know squat about their safety measures and what-nots. I get in, push the button to the needed floor, and hope it doesn't stop, fall, or go haywire. That's it.

                      The only thing I would be happy with, is if it came to my floor above the fire, and took me to a few floors down below the fire. From there I would be more than happy to hike the rest of the way down in the stairwell.

                      As for operations and control, that should be done by qualified FF's in elevator FIRE rescue. Add another qualification to your list.

                      FM1
                      I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

                      Originally posted by EastKyFF
                      "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
                        ...
                        As for operations and control, that should be done by qualified FF's in elevator FIRE rescue. Add another qualification to your list.

                        FM1
                        Think NFPA can get that spec in less than 50pages?

                        Special hat and white gloves required?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          All three tightly bunched and poorly protected emergency stairways in Tower One were cut at the point of impact by American Airlines Flight 11 from the 93rd to 99th floors. A computer simulation by Galea's staff showed that had just one staircase survived, everyone trapped above the impact could have escaped.

                          Although elevators in both towers were disabled in the attack, a NIST study of the South Tower found that in the 16 minutes before that structure was hit by United Airlines Flight 175, an estimated 3,000 people safely evacuated using the elevators.
                          This has more to do with building design with an eye toward evacuation then the use of elevator vs stairs.. in the case of the WTC BOTH systems were disabled because of the building's shell/core design.

                          As a result of its four-year study of the trade center collapse, NIST has made a number of recommendations to ensure buildings can be evacuated in emergencies such as earthquakes, tornadoes, fires or terrorist attacks. Among them are calls to strengthen elevator shafts and stairways, including making sure stairwells aren't clustered. NIST also recommended that consideration be given to "protected/hardened elevators."
                          I think it is a very good thing to start designing buildings with evacuations in mind. This could include the use of elevators AND stairs. While I don't think elevators can move the same volume of people and therefore can't replace stairs they would make a good addition.. especially in buildings with a high occupant load.
                          So you call this your free country
                          Tell me why it costs so much to live
                          -3dd

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                          • #14
                            It is imperative that able bodied folks continue to use the stairs, but allowing the use of elevators for the disabled and mobility impaired in an evacuation is critical in high rise buildings.
                            Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
                            -Big Russ

                            Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

                            Originally posted by nyckftbl
                            LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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                            • #15
                              I have the answer to part of the problem. With the rest of the new innovations going on, my invention will fit right in with the "hardend/robust" hoistway construction. Another problem is the open electronics on the elevator car that are exposed to suppression water that falls on the car. A solution to the open electronics cabinet on top of the car is not used only because it adds to service time of the elevator. These issues I think can be sorted out rather easily.

                              Comment

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