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Feasibility of Fire Evacuation by Elevators at FAA Control Towers.

pdf icon Feasibility of Fire Evacuation by Elevators at FAA Control Towers. (3998 K)
Klote, J. H.; Levin, B. M.; Groner, N. E.

NISTIR 5445; 110 p. May 1994.


Department of Transportation, Washington, DC

Available from:

National Technical Information Service
Order number: PB94-213857


evacuation; elevators (lifts); air traffic control; building fires; emergencies; handicapped; life safety; smoke control


Throughout most of the world, warning signs next to elevators indicated they should not be used in fire situations. Because these elevators have not been designed for fire evacuation, they should not be used for fire evacuation. However, the idea of using elevators for fire evacuation has gained considerable attention. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has sponsored a project to study the feasibility of elevator emergency evacuation at air traffic control towers. This paper describes this project including (1) a general discussion of elevator evacuation, (2) presentation of conceptual criteria for such elevator evacuation systems, and (3) application of that criteria to several ATCTs. It is concluded that elevator emergency evacuation is not feasible for existing ATCTs. This could change for some standard designs if water resistant elevator components are developed that make water protection of elevators feasible. However, elevator emergency evacuation is feasible for new ATCTs, and this would involve significant challenges concerning engineering and human factors.