Escape Chute
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The World Trade Centre Plaza incidents in New York City certainly increased everyone’s attention regarding evacuations from high rise buildings. How to empty the total building population in the shortest possible time in the event of the worst conceivable scenario that could happen to a tall structure? How to get those people with physical disabilities down quickly and with minimum assistance in the absence of egress lifts? How to provide additional emergency exit(s) or increase the size of existing stairways for mass rapid evacuation where it is not possible due to building structure? In many ways, The Escape Chute got the answers and could provide the solutions - whether mandatory or obligatory!

1. What is this product intended for?

The Escape Chute is another means of emergency exit that permits rapid, mass evacuation from high rise structures during life threatening emergencies. It is uniquely designed to provide a relatively safe and quick method of vertical escape - is always accessible and ready for use. It provides a unique solution to the problems of vertical escape in difficult conditions during emergency evacuation.

  • Single-Entry Escape Chute serves only the floor in a structure or building on which it is installed.
  • Multi-Entry Escape Chute serves every floor, similar to stairwell in a multi-floor building.
  • Movable/Portable Rescue Chute is mounted on the skylift/ladder truck for high rise rescue operations.

2. What are they made of?

The chute fabric materials is constructed of three layers:

  • Outer layer – 100% fiberglass fabric non-flammable to protect the chute from fire and it resists temperature of up to 750 degr C.
  • Middle layer – flexible elastic fabric acts as brake and operate effectively in a temperature range of from –45 degr C to +175 degr C).
  • Inner layer – Du Pont Kevlar or Enka Twaron fabric can resist temperature of up to 650 degrees C. This layer supports the whole chute load and the Kevlar has the breaking strength of over 10 tons (10,000 kg).

All three layers together are 1.8 kg approximately per running meter.

Materials used for chute construction are of EU and ISO standards; the durability of chute fabrics can last for ten years, with the exception of the fiberglass coat, and subject to regular maintenance.

Each platform is constructed on a modular basis from aluminum with external dimensions of 620mm x 620mm. Any additional construction or support elements to the base plate are made from either aluminum or galvanized steel or stainless steel.

In principle, all chute platforms are designed and constructed to support people with a total weight of 1 ton (1000 kg) regardless of the length of chute. The save load capacity is about 5000 kg.

3. Is the chute detrimental to water if syringe during fire fighting?

No. In fact when wet it will increase the maximum operating temperature of the chute in used.

4. Can the fabric cause friction burns?

Yes, if your skin is extremely sensitive. In life threatening situation, a temporary slight chafing skin is better than to lost a live. Recommended to put on long sleeved shirt and trouser.

5. Does a person’s size or shape make any difference when using the chute?

The standard size at the entry point of the chute opening is about 530 mm diameter, person with waist size over 530 mm cannot use the chute. The factory can customized the size at the entry point of chute opening of up to 800 mm for industrial application. The escape chute system relies solely on body weight, and test proved that all evacuees regardless of body size, shape and weight, injured on stretcher and unconscious people, once inside the chute will arrived at ground level quickly and relatively safely.

6. Is it easy to breathe in the chute?

Yes, the chute is not air-tight and light penetrates easily. As you travel through the escape chute in the day time it is light and airy, you can look up, and down. Yet, it protects the evacuees from flame, heat and smoke from the danger of suffocation in the process of descending.

7. Should evacuee slide down the chute one by one? .. what are the safety measures?

The chute is strong enough to hold safely more than one person of average weight sliding at the same time. Nonetheless, it is recommended that one person at a time to slide down a short-length chute.

A longer length of chute would enable more than one person to slide down at interval of 4 seconds after a person enters the chute. For safety reasons, the SOP requires a helper at the ground to control a fast descend by twisting the chute so as to slow down the descend and to guide the evacuee out of the exit point of the chute quickly.

To avoid collisions, ensure a safe distance of at least 10 meter between persons in the chute. To control a fast descend of a second person, the helper at the ground can twist the chute (i.e. 2 turns) between the first and the second person.

8. How could evacuee self-control the speed of own descends?

Each conscious evacuee can have good grip and control own rate of descending by bending knees and bending elbows against the inner layer of chute while sliding down the chute.

To use the escape chute, the user sits on the edge, with their feet and lower legs in the chute, at this point user will feel the escape chute grip his/her lower, legs, expand his/her legs against the chute, and user will feel grate resistance.

While supporting user body weight with his/her hands, lower him/her self into the chute, keeping his/her legs fully extended against the inside wall of the chute.

Once user shoulders are into the chute, push his/her hands and arms against the wall of the chute, this action and the bending of his/her legs at the hips will bring user to a stop.

By relaxing the pressure against the wall user will then descend:

Increase pressure = SLOW DOWN

Relax pressure = SPEED UP

User have control of his/her decent speed.

Average speed for evacuee with right behavior is about 2.5 m per second. It would take approximately 35 – 40 seconds to descend a chute of up to 50 meters length. A maximum of 30 persons a minute can be evacuated at height from fire or danger.

Another method of regulating the speed of descend is to have a helper at the ground twisting the chute at full length and by slowly untwisting the chute to guide the evacuee to descend gradually. This method enable injured on stretcher, unconscious or disabled people and small children to be transported down safely and quickly.

9. Can a person be injured in the chute?

Yes, injuries can occur if an evacuee descends too quickly and if there is no helper at the ground to slow that person down. A collision or rough landing at the floor may occur at the exit point of chute. Although the escape chute will not guarantee one from getting injured during evacuation, it will certainly be able to bring those people unable to use stairs to the ground quickly and relatively safely. With frequent practice in drills, occupants will even feel safer descending down the long chute than negotiating the long flight of stairs during mass evacuation in emergencies.

10. Can one be absolutely safe in the Escape Chute?

Yes, when there is a helper at the ground to guide the evacuation operations. In addition, the users follow the standard operations procedure and have some awareness of the principles of operations. Once inside the chute, the evacuee will have a feeling of body being completely supported by the chute and as soon as the evacuee discover to control the speed of descend, one will feel safe and secure. Evacuee will even feel safer than negotiating the long flight of stairs during mass evacuation in emergencies. To exit evacuee’s feet will touch the ground, he/she then crouch and extract his/her body from the chute and walk away.

11. Is Escape Chute laboratory tested? .. If so, where and when?

Currently, there is no standard in the world for the design and construction of escape chutes or similar devices. The Escape Chute tested by The Josef Tuliszkowski Scientific and Research Centre for Fire Protection, Warsaw, Poland, and is approval for use as "escape chute". The chute has also got a list of international approvals and recommendations from participation fire academy worldwide.

12. What is the maximum length of the escape chute?

  • Single-Entry Escape Chute - 200 meter
    The longest length installed to-date is 142 meter at Intraco Building, Warsaw – Poland.
  • Multi-Entry Escape Chute – no constraint of length or building height
    The tallest building installed to-date is 152 meter at Nation Tower, Bangkok – Thailand.
  • Movable/Portable Rescue – depend on the length and height of elevation. The longest length in used to date is 66m for Bronto-Sklift fire truck.

13. Is there any technical limitation or constraint for the installation of chute?

Yes. As the system works on the principle of “stress and friction vertical descend method”, the chute need to flow vertically and free from obstruction to a clear landing point at ground. We have technical solutions applicable to most building. For existing building, the system needs to be installed at a site that have a clear landing point to ground or to another void floor leading to final exit. For this reason, site survey is needed and drawings of the building should be provided to custom-made chute to suit each installation site. The system can be incorporated into the new building design when planning for means of egress.

14. Can the same chute be “ worthy for reused” after it has being used for mass emergency evacuation?

The chute would need to be inspected by factory representative after being used for mass emergency evacuation. It may need to be repaired to become worthy condition for re-used in the next evacuation. If the chute have saves many lives, it will have been worth it to replace with new chute.

15. What is the difference between “spiral descend” method and “vertical descend” method?

Storage – Because the spiral is critical, retrieving and storing the chute in proper order after each use would need to be done with extreme care. It takes more time to do that in comparison to vertical descend system, which only takes a few minutes

Ease of Use – The spiral does require some conscious effort by evacuees to escape.

This may be a problem if a person were to collapse and become unconscious during their descend. If that unconscious person has a large body or heavy in weight, the system could be blocked. On the other hand, the vertical system relies solely on body weight, and test proved that all evacuees regardless of body size, shape and weight, injured on stretcher and unconscious people, once inside the chute will arrived at ground level quickly and relatively safely.

16. Where are the escape chutes being installed?

They are installed at multi-storey buildings from 2 storey upward to high rise buildings:

  • Government Buildings;
  • Public Buildings;
  • Security Buildings/Facilities;
  • Embassies;
  • Office Buildings;
  • Apartments/Condominiums;
  • Hospitals/Healthcare Centers;
  • Homes for the Elderly, Children, Handicapped;
  • Shopping Malls...

Escape chutes are also installed for industrial applications:

  • Nuclear Power Plants, Chemical Plants.
  • Bridge Crane, Tower Crane, etc.
  • Ammunition Plants and similar location.
  • Space Rocket Launching Pads.
  • Textile Wet Curtain Technology.
  • Monorail systems.
  • Giant mining and dirt moving equipment.
  • Ferries, Offshore Rigs.
  • Silos, Chemical/Gas Storage Tanks.
  • Communication Towers, Tower Control Centers.
  • Aerial Ladder Truck or Skylift platforms.
  • Warehouse/Logistic Dumping Chute.
  • Theatre involving aerial stunts.
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