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March 8, 2012 -
The industry is moving ever closer to practical application of using elevators for emergency evacuation. It has been determined in the 2009 NFPA code annex that elevators can be used as a means of egress in very tall buildings, as it can greatly shorten the time for a total building evacuation.
In the 2012 code, it was moved into the main body of the code. The infrastructure and hardware criteria have been established. What is being worked out is the communication piece to tenants. This includes signage to mark the elevator and also the proper notification modes, frequency and messages to provide in an emergency in regards to the evacuation elevator.
The final report by the Fire Protection Research Foundation was issued the first week of January and final elevator messaging recommendations will be worked on in the coming months, Robert Solomon, division manager for Building and Life Safety Codes, at National Fire Protection Association. However, even though the messaging is not yet standardized, there is enough guidance in the code for projects to move forward, Solomon says.