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Emergency Lifts

Emergency lifts, also known as emergency elevators, are an important component of building design and public safety regulations. They play a crucial role in the evacuation of people during emergencies, such as fires, earthquakes, or other situations that could compromise the use of regular lifts or stairs.

Emergency lifts have specific design and operation features that set them apart from standard lifts. Some of these are:

  1. Fire Resistance: Emergency lifts are equipped with fire-resistant doors and walls, as per the Australian Standard AS 1735.11 that covers specifications for fire-resistant lifts.

  2. Backup Power: They have a secondary power source to ensure operation during power outages, which can be common during emergencies.

  3. Water Resistance: They are built to resist water damage, important in the case of emergencies involving water, such as flooding or firefighting efforts.

  4. Priority Recall: The lifts can be recalled to a specific floor by emergency services, overriding any commands inputted by users. This is especially important for high-rise buildings where accessing the higher floors quickly can be crucial in an emergency situation.

  5. Capacity: They usually have a higher load capacity to accommodate more people or heavy equipment like wheelchairs and stretchers.

  6. Designated Control: Emergency services have a key switch that gives them exclusive control of the lift, preventing unauthorized usage during emergencies.

It's essential to note that all lifts, including emergency lifts, are governed by the Australian Standard AS 1735, which provides detailed requirements for design, installation, operation, and maintenance. There are various parts to this standard, each covering a specific type of lift or escalator.

Building codes in Australia may require the installation of emergency lifts depending on the building's size, type, and purpose. Generally, buildings over a certain height, as well as hospitals and aged care facilities, are required to have emergency lifts. The Building Code of Australia (BCA) and individual state and territory regulations determine these requirements.

Remember, in an emergency situation, the guidance of emergency services should always be followed regarding the use of lifts. Despite the presence of emergency lifts, often the safest protocol in emergencies like fires is to use the stairs.

Are emergency lifts listed on your Annual Fire Safety Statement?