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Feasibility and Design Considerations of Emergency Evacuation by Elevators.

pdf icon Feasibility and Design Considerations of Emergency Evacuation by Elevators. (2381 K)
Klote, J. H.; Alvord, D. M.; Levin, B. M.; Groner, N. E.

NISTIR 4870; 126 p. February 1992.


General Services Administration, Washington, DC

Available from:

National Technical Information Service
Order number: PB94-163441


elevators (lifts); evacuation; emergencies; building fires; computer models; evacuation time; handicapped; life safety; office buildings; smoke control; occupants


Throughout most of the world, warning signs next to elevators indicate they should not be used in fire situations, and today's elevators have not been designed for fire evacuation and should not be used for fire evacuation. However, the idea of using elevators to speed up fire evacuation and to evacuate persons with disabilities has gained considerable attention. The potential of elevator evacuation is so significant that the U. S. General Services Administration (GSA) has sponsored a research project at NIST to develop techniques for occupant use of elevators during building evacuations. This paper is the final report of that project, and it addresses fundamental system considerations, engineering design considerations, design analysis, and human behavior. This paper shows that use of elevators in additon to stairs during a fire emergency allows occupants and firefighters an additional system of vertical transportation. Even through the focus of this paper is fire evacuation, much of the information is also applicable to evacuation for other emergencies. The results of a previous project to develop smoke control of elevator systems are presented in Appendix A. An interactive computer program ELVAC, was written specifically for the analyses of this paper.