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Incorporating Elevators and Escalators into Emergency Evacuation Models

Richard W. Bukowski, P.E., FSFPE Senior Consultant Rolf Jensen and Associates Baltimore, MD 20708

2009 editions of IBC and NFPA 5000 permit occupant egress elevators ASME A17.1 balloting Occupant Evacuation (elevator) Operation for 2013 edition, new section 2.27.10 NFPA 130:2010 permits escalators to be use for 50% of required egress capacity from a station platform
Fixed Guideway Transit

History (1)
Material lifts since 236 BC but not considered safe for people Elisha Otis safety brake prevents car from falling if rope breaks (1852) Passenger elevators are enabling technology for buildings taller than 6 floors

History (2)
In 1970s stories of fire fatalities from heat sensitive call buttons and firefighters falling down hoistways through open landing doors 2006 NFPA review of fatalities involving egress
7 fires, 19+ fatalities in elevators
All but 2+ would have been prevented by FEO USA Today est. 200 in WTC not included

3 fires where elevators used for egress, no fatalities in elevators 3 fires where occupant survival credited to elevators including 3000 in WTC 2 No firefighters falling down hoistways FEO recalls (Phase 1) elevators when threatened by fire
Firefighters can drive recalled cars on Phase 2

Occupant Evacuation Operation (OEO)

Developed by ASME task groups Initially evacuate 5 floors at greatest risk Wait for IC decision for full evacuation Evacuate building from top down
Voice instructions Information systems Protected lobby with access to stair

Evacuate entire population of any building in under 1 hour with no additional elevators

Modeling OEO
Occupant Load
Elevators usually designed for actual load for which the building is designed
Software can usually compensate for changes in occupant load, later

Design load factors (code) can be used for spec buildings Assume load factor for cars of 85%

Modeling OEO
Number of Cars
Max of 4 cars per bank (single hoistway) Usually 2 banks per group (single controller) Max travel distance of 150 ft to an elevator Cars serving different groups of floors in different banks One service car per 300,000 to 500,000 sqft
Smaller footprints use swing cars

Modeling OEO
Handling Capacity
Common metric for design service level Percent of building population that can be moved in 5 minutes
Up-peak or down-peak Office buildings - 13% Residential 8%

IBC/NFPA require use of all publicuse cars for occupant evacuation, to maximize handling capacity and minimize egress time

Modeling OEO
Passenger Capacity
Rated load (based on platform area) @ 160 lb per passenger
3000 lb car, 19 passengers

Observed that at 2.3 ft2/person people will wait for next car
0.56 ft2/person max in emergency

Double deck cars double capacity without increasing hoistway space Optimized elevator designs maximize capacity while minimizing hoistway space
Terminating local hoistways to return leasable space above

Modeling OEO
Startup of OEO
Unoccupied cars begin to evacuate 5 floor block Occupied cars return to LED and discharge before joining Shuttle mode Sequence is fire floor, then 2 above, then 2 below, then recall to LED
One parks at lowest floor of block to retrieve stragglers

Modeling OEO
Door opening and closing times
Doors open after leveling in 2 seconds Close slower to avoid injuring people
3 seconds for 48 in door Code limits kinetic energy, so time depends on door weight Some systems include a disabled button that increases dwell time and slows closing of doors

Modeling OEO
Dwell Times
Time based on distance from call buttons to door established by ADA
5-8 sec + 1 sec per person breaking light beam

Close at 85% capacity or 20 sec

Nudging half speed close + buzzer

Modeling OEO
Travel Speed
Speed selected based on travel time objectives < 5 floors, hydraulic
150 fpm

Traction elevators
10 floor, 400 fpm 45 floor, 1000 fpm 60 floor, 1800 fpm Fastest, 3300 fpm Service cars, half speed

Modeling OEO
Travel Time

Cars accelerate and decelerate slowly to avoid discomfort

2-8 ft/s2 between 60% and 100% rated speed

Short trips may not reach rated speed

Modeling OEO
Zoned Elevators
Industry practice to limit car stops to 15-20
Local and express Low- and high-rise banks Transfer floors (sky lobbies)

Vertical zones
Mixed use buildings Separated lobbies Travel through blind shaft sections

Nathan Ames revolving stair 1859 First installed at Coney Island in 1896 Not egress stairs because of variable geometry and riser height (<8.5 in)
Stairs <7.5 in More comfortable but slower going up a stopped escalator

Tread depth >15.75 in

Stairs >11 in

per NFPA 130
Not more than 50% of required capacity
Max 2/step on 48 in width 1.41 p/min/in (same as stairs)

Escalators moving in the direction of egress travel continue moving Moving opposite the direction of egress travel are stopped
100 ft/min moving Stopped
48 ft/min down 40 ft/min up

Assume 1 out of service

Modeling Egress by Stairs, Elevators and Escalators

Survey showed elevator preference on higher floors
Some will use stairs Escalators used where present

Default to OEO
Time to initiate full evacuation user set (IC decision) Fraction disabled and # of stragglers user set Incorporate distributed variables (mean, SD) and batch run to obtain range of performance