Birmingham-based manufacturer, Evac+Chair International, is being recognised for shaping part of American history through its role in helping to save several lives during the World Trade Centre attack in New York City.
The World Trade Centre Museum will now house Evac+Chair models in honour of the company whose specialist evacuation chairs for disabled workers and the mobility impaired helped to rescue more than six occupants during the attacks on September 11, 2001. Whilst sharing the stairwells with first responders, employees utilised the evacuation chairs to help fellow disabled workers swiftly escape during this critical emergency situation.
The evacuation chairs are of unique construction and their design made it easy for mobility-impaired individuals to be navigated up and/or down a staircase in their time of need. The lightweight chair is engineered to manoeuvre smoothly and safely, allowing users to have total control of the chair’s descent speed with relative ease, regardless of the passenger’s weight or size. The survivors and their rescuers reported that they were able to make their way down the stairs as firefighters came up without any interference.
Mark Wallace, Managing Director of Evac+Chair International, said: “Evac+Chair products being placed in the World Trade Centre Museum is a significant credit to our company, our people and the valuable products we’ve manufactured. We are extremely proud that our work played a small part in saving the lives of people during such tragic events. It is always a hope that serious, life-threatening emergencies won’t occur but because they can happen, we are very pleased that our products were available in this situation to be used to safely evacuate individuals who might otherwise not have escaped.”
Evac+Chair International recently conducted a survey with HR directors and managers who work in multi-storey buildings. The survey uncovered that one in two companies (57%) is under prepared for evacuations leaving wheelchair users and the mobility-impaired most at risk of being unable to make a quick, safe escape during an emergency situation.
Wallace adds: “In the wake of 9/11 it is important to consider evacuation procedures that effectively and safely remove mobility impaired employees from buildings. While it shouldn’t take a level of disaster such as the Twin Towers attack to bring to mind the critical nature of emergency preparation, it does remind businesses how being mindful and ready for evacuations will help save lives.”