Could A Lift Be The Answer To Fire Evacuation?


Published on: 19-04-2018

In the event of a fire, it is common knowledge that you should use the stairs and shouldn’t use any type of lift system to evacuate the building. Some lift companies have been looking at the possibility of occupant-evacuation lifts that could be used in the event of an emergency. These systems could increase the efficiency and safety of evacuation procedures across the world.

Current Procedures

Since the 1970’s, lifts have not been available during the event of a fire after cases of people becoming trapped, suffering from smoke inhalation, and exiting on floors containing fire were recorded when lifts systems remained operational during fire evacuations. Those living and working in skyscrapers now know to use the stairs in an emergency as lifts go out of service upon the detection of smoke.


Although it is now standard practice for lifts to become unavailable in the case of emergency, buildings are becoming taller, more populated and are facing newer threats in the form of terror attacks.

To combat these changes to evacuation procedures, lifts could provide the answer. Specially designs evacuation safety lifts could become the safest and quickest way to exit a high-rise building in an emergency. There is also the issue of meeting accessibility requirements for disabled people and those with other issues. Those who require lifts to safely access buildings also require them to get out safely. Escaping a skyscraper from high levels when disabled, pregnant or overweight is difficult and dangerous when time is of the essence.

Lift Safety in Emergencies

During the attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001, many of those who escaped from tower 2 did so by using elevators. Whilst standard lift systems are still dangerous to use in an emergency, specially designed occupant-evacuation lifts can quickly take people from dangerous levels to somewhere that is safer.

It is the responsibility of a lift company to ensure that safety is key when designing future lift systems and occupant-evacuation lifts could be something that saves many lives.