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Lifts for Emergency Evacuation in Apartment Buildings

Sharma, T.S., He, Y. and Mahendran, M., 2008. Lifts for Emergency Evacuation in Apartment Buildings. Fire Safety Science 9: 439-450. doi:10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.9-439


A research project was undertaken to investigate whether the lifts can be used as an alternate emergency evacuation route in apartment buildings. The important parameters in relation to the issues were divided into three categories: human behavioural response, fire hazards and lift operational mechanism. The parameters relating to human behavioural response were modelled and analysed as a stochastic process. The parameters relating to fire hazards were analysed using the concept of fire safety index while the parameters relating to operational mechanism were analysed using probabilistic models. An integrated approach of risk assessment was developed based on the Multi-Objectives Decision Analysis method. The results for lift and stair systems were compared and the feasibility of using lifts with design modifications was analysed. The outcome of the research has shown that lifts as an alternate evacuation facility with enhanced level of safety have potential to improve evacuation efficiency, particularly for aged and disabled persons. Partial evacuation using lifts with a protected lobby is possible. The risk involved in total evacuation using lifts with double protection is comparable with stair-alone evacuation.

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