A Korean company, Neri-Go, has come up with a personal elevator-style emergency evacuation system. It carries people one or two at a time from one floor to another, down the exterior of a building, and requires no electricity to do so.
The system is intended for tall buildings, and it does not take much space. In the unfortunate event of a fire, building occupants step onto a 60 square centimeter platform and release a brake to be lowered to the floor below. They then get down from the platform and step onto another, and so on and so forth.
The steady, controlled descent is driven by the user’s weight – when the user steps off the platform, it rises back up automatically for the next evacuee. This sounds like a better evacuation alternative for the elderly resident who cannot easily use the stairs to escape to safety. According to the BuyKorea website, it can accommodate those carrying children as well as the disabled.
Following the June 2017 devastating Grenfell Tower inferno in London – where 71 people lost their lives after being trapped in a building that had only one staircase – the need for an efficient and safe emergency evacuation system for tall buildings is again at the forefront. In that case, flames shot up the exterior of the building, so Neri-Go would have been unusable. However, that catastrophe does strike a few crucial points:
- The critical importance of an emergency evacuation system
- The need for lifts in all buildings and their compliance with building regulations and fire safety norms.
- Periodic maintenance of such lifts and other evacuation systems.
Nerigo’s emergency evacuation lift is a simple system that can possibly save innumerable lives. However, it relies on people evacuating in an orderly fashion – and, that is often not the case how people behave in real emergencies, like during a fire when they are disoriented and there is smoke all around.