Whether you are responsible for the design of a building, the construction of that building or the management of the building, it is crucial that you consider all elements of evacuation should an emergency come about.
Some of these considerations will involve the mechanisms of evacuation in the event of a fire or power failure, particularly for any individuals who are unable to make use of stairs. In the planning and preparations for these situations, it’s certainly worth considering emergency lift power systems (ELPS) and uninterrupted power supplies (UPS).
In this post, we have offered up details of both ELPS and UPS, to help building designers, constructors and managers to effectively make a decision on the best system to utilise in their buildings.
Uninterruptible Power Supply Units
A UPS is a type of unit that is installed into buildings to assist with emergency evacuations. These units came before ELPS units and have been used for many years in many public buildings across the country.
Uninterrupted Power Supply units make sure vital power isn’t shut off in times of need, such as during an evacuation. These systems are also used for other events, such as for computer backups, but they come in handy when evacuating individuals in need.
UPS units typically have a shorter operation time than ELPS and so are recommended for smaller buildings, for example, or for buildings that don’t have an immediate need for these systems.
These systems can last for up to 13 years when properly maintained and serviced and are recognised by many of the standard regulations, including the BS9999.
Emergency Lift Power Systems
An ELPS is specifically designed to assist in the event of an emergency evacuation. They comply with the necessary health and safety standards specifications (including BS, EN and IEC) and have proven extremely useful and helpful in schools, hospitals, care homes, universities, apartment blocks and other buildings.
Emergency Power Lift Systems are reliable tools to invest in, for the safe and efficient evacuation of any individuals who are unable to use the stairs or another fire evacuation route independently. These systems are essentially a standby power system which can be used on any lift (both traction and hydraulic) in an emergency situation. A certified or authorised individual is able to control the system from an external switch, typically located by the lift call button.
Once activated, the individual can then operate the lift for a certain number of journeys within an hour, as recommended in the BS9999 regulations. The limit is usually set to around 10 upwards journeys and 10 downward journeys, but these limits can be altered dependant on your building’s specific requirements. The time limit can also be extended where required, for larger buildings or for buildings that are purpose-built for the elderly or disabled, for example.
When not in use, an ELPS unit will keep its batteries fully charged, in preparation for evacuations and when their power supply is needed most. Most ELPs units are expected to last around 10 years minimum, when the recommended maintenance and servicing is carried out.
A cost-effective evacuation method
An ELPS unit is an extremely cost-effective and eco-friendly way of ensuring safe evacuation in your building. When not in use, these units typically use up 250 watts of electricity and are said to save around £2,500 a year compared to other evacuation units.
Here we have provided a simple overview of the two main emergency evacuation systems – it’s vital that you thoroughly understand the advantages and drawbacks of each system, before making a decision on which you will choose to invest in and use in your own building.