Evacuation chairs are a vital piece of safety equipment in many organisations’ premises, from offices and factories to hospitals and care homes. However, correct use of the equipment is absolutely paramount to the safety of both the passenger and the operator.
This brief guide is intended as a general overview of the principles involved in using an evacuation chair – for detailed instruction you should refer to your product’s manual and any supplementary training supplied in its use. Our evacuation chair training course helps give full support to your staff for complete and competent operation of our equipment.
Evacuation chairs are intended to help a disabled or mobility impaired individual safely traverse stairs in emergency situations,such as a fire evacuation. Various types of chairs are available, and while most are designed for a single operator who guides the chair from behind, others may require two operators to move the passenger down stairs: one at the head end and one at the feet. Designated operators should have received comprehensive training and hands-on practice, and we recommend that operators receive practical experience at least four times a year.
Practice to build confidence
We also recommend that, where appropriate, staff with special mobility needs gain some experience in the use of the equipment. Evacuation chairs are designed first and foremost with the safety and stability of the passenger in mind, however many users may initially find being moved in an evacuation chair a disconcerting experience, and at least one practice session can help build confidence in both the chair’s design and the proficiency of the designated operators.
Transferring from wheelchair to evacuation chair
Evacuation chairs are quick and easy to deploy, and in general passengers should be loaded within a designated fire refuge point. Depending on the evacuation chair design and the individual’s needs, they may be in a position to either transfer themselves from their own wheelchair to the evacuation chair, or may require assistance from one or more designated persons.
Letting the chair do the work
Once in the evacuation chair, the precise usage of the chair and technique for moving the passenger down stairs will be dictated by the type of chair used and operators should proceed based on the training provided. Remember that evacuation chairs incorporate specifically designed elements to facilitate easy stair travel – they are designed to do the lifting and carrying work, so if you find that you are doing the lifting and carrying then your technique may be wrong.