Can wheelchair users use the lift when there is a fire?

Can wheelchair users use the lift when there is a fire?

The short answer is no! As you may be aware, when you have an evacuation exercise in your business (an annual requirement), people are not supposed to use the lifts, even if they cannot otherwise exit the building.

This is done for good reason. One of the most common causes of fires, are electrical faults, which might render the lift(s) unusable. Even if the lifts do still continue to operate reliably, they are often one of the main channels for smoke, from fire on a lower level so not safe to use.


It is a mistaken belief that as the owners, or managers, of a business in a high-rise building you can simply wait for the firefighters to arrive and they will get all wheelchair occupants out. Wrong!

It is your responsibility. You have a duty of care to all occupants or visitors to the building to make sure they can evacuate to a safe place in an emergency. There is a legal requirement for employers, service providers and building owners to ensure the safe evacuation of mobility impaired persons in the event of an emergency.

Evacuation Chairs

As ex-firefighters we have observed first-hand the difficulties experienced trying to get people down the stairs when they in a wheelchair. It is far better to use a specialist device designed for staircase evacuation.

These devices – evacuation chairs – offer a cost-effective, safe and simple solution that ensures the safe evacuation of those that are mobility impaired. Our entire range of chairs can also be used as transfer/ambulance chairs and greatly assist with compliance.

The evacuation chair enables one person to evacuate a physically impaired person safely and easily down stairs in the event of an emergency or when lifts can not be used.

About the Author: