When an emergency strikes it’s a good idea to have a plan in place so that everyone can be safe, and no one should ever have to worry about being left behind. But, what about those of us who have disabilities that prevent walking or running easily? What plans do we have in place to aid them? In the event that something happens, either in a school, a hospital, or even senior living facilities, it is important to be able to remove everyone from the area as quickly and safely as possible. And, for this purpose there are handicap escape chairs.
What is a Handicap Escape Chair?
Escape chairs are designed to be used to assist disabled individuals in the event of an emergency, and this doesn’t just extend to individuals with visible disabilities either, asthma, heart conditions, and other issues can make evacuation difficult, which is why assistance should be available at all times. Escape chairs are especially important as many elevators are shutdown in the event of fire, and when not on a ground level, people could be left without an easy option of escape.
These chairs are lightweight and easy to operate. This is a significant factor in the event that evacuation equipment is stored in a particular location in a building; the lightweight design makes it easy to carry to where it is needed, without unnecessary strain. The lightweight build also makes it easier to operate when transporting a passenger.
The design of the evac chair is also made for stability and security while transporting. It is open on both sides to allow easy maneuverability, and the ability to get in and out of, while a strap secures the passenger into the evacuation chair to prevent falling or jostling. Handicap escape chairs are also made to be able to descend even multiple flights of stairs easily, and without undue strain to the person maneuvering. Friction belts on the leg rails of the chair allow for the safe control of speed, while the narrow design allows for other individuals to be able to pass on the stairs as well.
When To Use a Handicap Escape Chair
As stated above not all disabilities are visible, and in the event someone has a medical emergency and needs to be moved, these chairs can also be invaluable to transporting a person to a safer area where they can be assisted properly. Around 15% of the world’s population lives with a current disability, and having methods to aid them in events such as these should be common practice.
Evacuation chairs can also be invaluable in healthcare facilities. As also stated above, in the case of fires, many elevators are shut down, preventing the transportation of individuals and patients who might need assistance walking. For reference, to see just how important this transport can be, there were an estimated 5,750 fires annually in healthcare facilities, between 2011 and 2015. Fire can happen anywhere, even in places that take the utmost caution. Anecdotally, as someone who has previously worked in a hospital, I can say first hand that during a fire, even a false alarm, being able to transport patients easily and effectively makes a world of difference. Patients need to feel safe and secure in every instance, which is why evacuation chairs should be standard and mandatory in all healthcare facilities.
Chairs like these are not only essential in healthcare facilities, but they can also be essential in schools. While hopefully never needed, in the case of an emergency, if a student is unable to evacuate properly, due to a disability or injury, and evacuation chair can help get them to safety without issue.
The Take Away
We can never predict when emergency will strike, hopefully it seldom will. But, in the event that something does happen, we have a responsibility to assist those of use with disabilities, visible or otherwise. No one should worry about accessibility, or being left behind, and with handicap escape chairs they needed worry any longer. If you know of a place that could benefit from having these chairs kept on hand, I would urge you to reach out and see about making them available. You can help make a difference.