A Dutch duo believe they have devised a solution for any residents and workers trapped in skyscrapers and other tall buildings during a fire and suggest their invention could save "thousands of lives".
The Evacuator will allow people trapped to slowly and safely descend on a steel cable at the outside of the building, as a last resort if it is unsafe for firefighters to reach them. Estimates from the National Fire Protection Assocation (US) suggest there are more than 7,500 tall buildings fires per year worldwide, affecting residents in tall buildings to mechanics in wind turbines.
Dutch inventors Eugene Verstegen and Joris Veeger came up with the idea when they saw people fall to their death from the Twin Towers in 9/11.
Verstegen and Veeger will speak more about their device at the International Tall Building Fire Safety Conference at the University of Greenwich [17-20 June] - click here for a full event preview or follow @fire_editor on Twitter for live event coverage
Verstegen said: "If you are living or working on this height, you must be able to get out at all times. We can put people on the moon. Why is there no simple solution for evacuations from great heights?
"The Evacuator is people’s last resort if elevators are switched off, emergency exits are filled with smoke and firemen can’t reach them. What the airbag has done for car safety, the Evacuator can do for tall buildings. With this technology we can save lives in 99% of all tall buildings in the world."
The device works by providing a fireproof steel winch, which is guaranteed to work at all times, even when electricity is down. The device allows four persons at the same time to descend 50, 140 or 300 meters in a safety harness on a steel cable, at a speed of 1 meter per second.
The Evacuator has been developed, tested and produced in the Netherlands, approved by the German inspection institute DEKRA and awarded with the EN341 certification for 33 European countries.
For further information visit www.evacuator.com