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Background

As a result of events such as the World Trade Centre crashes, changes to stairwell design have been recommended by the World Trade Centre Building Code Task Force. Despite the changes recommended by the task force the underlying problem still exists, as such the problem has not been fixed. Emergency exit stairwells can still become blocked or pose too great a threat for evacuees or response teams. The use of stairs in high rise buildings remains problematic due to the number of floors through which evacuees must descend, injury or panic only compound the problem. The proposed design changes affect only new developments and cannot be incorporated into existing buildings, modifications may prove too expensive or unfeasible.

Persons with physical limitations are well catered for, ramps and lifts designed to facilitate ease of entry and exit are a feature of many buildings. Conversely, many provide little for the ready evacuation of these persons from the building or to other areas of safety within the building.

To overcome these obstacles a Controlled Descent Device is the ideal solution. A Controlled Descent Device (CDD) is defined as equipment designed to accomplish the withdrawal (emergency egress) of occupants from a building and transporting them from a dangerous area to a safe area. Such is the recognition of CDDs that ASTM committee E06 has setup subcommittee E06.77 to setup standards to regulate devices designed for the external evacuation. Lifeline Descent falls within the CDD definition and offers all the advantages that result in being small, compact and not requiring external resources.

Why Lifeline Descent?

  • Provides and emergency escape route that is external to the building, inaccessible stairwells can be bypassed.
  • Simple, affordable and compact. Suitable as a personal or family solution. Included harness can be fitted to persons with mobility impairments.
  • Requires minimal fixation making it a suitable solution for existing buildings and does not impose major cost when incorporated into new developments.
  • Does not require any external or internal power source for operations, enabling Lifeline Decent to operate in blackout situations or independently of support staff / resources.
  • Immediately available to occupants, time is of the essence and Lifeline Descent offers the advantage if immediate escape if necessary.
  • Requires no user input, fully automatic operations reduces stress on occupants and eliminates the possibility of user error resulting in injury or death.
  • Controlled rate of descent of less than 2 metres per second reduces stress and injury.