Are Fire Escape Chutes Dangerous?

Fire escape chutes are an excellent evacuation solution in the face of a large fire.

Escape chutes have a tube-like construction that can safely transport multiple people quickly to safety. They work for people of all ages, from children to adults.

In this article we discuss various questions about fire escape chutes. 

What are Fire Escape Chutes?

A fire escape chute is a piece of equipment specifically made for emergency exits. It is mainly used in buildings where installation of a fire escape ladder is impractical. The chute is usually constructed of fabric (or sometimes plastic and metal) and installed on the upper floors of a building or roof. The chute can deploy within seconds, offering safe escape at a controlled velocity. 

Why Should I Use a Fire Escape Chute?

The buildings we construct today are taller than ever before. Even small offices and residential apartments have soaring buildings. This makes elevators and staircases unfeasible for use if you need to evacuate the building quickly when facing natural disasters such as fire and earthquakes.

In such scenarios, a chute is a better option as it allows you to vacate the building immediately without using a lot of electricity while operating or requiring mechanical assistance. Most people pride the place they work at, and it is the responsibility of an employer to keep his employees safe from any potential hazards. 

The chute can always be attached to the building, letting you escape at a moment’s notice. It can even act as a secret getaway spot in case you face a terrorist attack on the siege in the building. 

Fire Escape Chute Building Fire

Are Fire Escape Chutes Dangerous? 

For those wondering, there are no safety concerns that are inherent to the design of a chute. However, it is important to educate the chute users if they do not have any prior knowledge about the technology. Nevertheless, there are some safety concerns with some types of chutes.

German and/ or Japanese chutes have an internal spiral, which slides the person down. These spirals have a weight limit of how many people can exit through the chute at a time. If the escapees panic and overload the chute, there is a possibility that the internal slides collapse. Therefore, it is important to specify how many people can use the chute at a time.

Another problem related to the previous one is when escapees bump into one another while exiting the building through the chute. This can result in a person getting disoriented, so you should exit the chute one by one. 

Despite these issues, chutes are considered a safe getaway option. A chute is made of three layers. The outside layer is completely made of E-glass fiberglass, which is tear-proof and fire-proof. The middle layer is made from Elastomer and Madacryl. These fibers are both very flexible and tear-proof, allowing the users to descend slowly and safely. The inner layer is made of Aramid Fabrics, which supports the whole system. These fabrics are heat-resistant, making sure you do not get any friction burns coming down the chute. 

All in all, fire escape chutes are safe and easy to use. Plus, they do not require any additional energy to run, which is a plus point as you might not have electricity available when there is a fire in the building. 

How to use a Fire Escape Chute?

Using a fire escape chute is straightforward and often brings out memories. It is like going down on a slide that you used to take in parks as a kid. The only difference here is that this slide saves your life. 

What are the Various Types of Fire Escape Chutes? 

Many nations have their variations of the chute. The Koreans and Australians have a chute design in which flexible spring or ring function acts as an elastic band to allow slow-moving descent. Many other nations use a similar design for their chutes. 

On the other hand, a German chute has a spiral slide unlike any other version of the chute. Moreover, American chutes are also unique in design. They use a see-through Nylon net diagonal inclined at an angle, letting people escape easily. Other countries also use an inclined chute which acts just like a big slide. 

Final Thoughts

Fire escape chutes are an excellent choice to prevent people from getting trapped inside buildings. This marvel of engineering allows you to escape a building swiftly and safely. Fire escape chutes have effectively reduced the demand for firefighters and other rescue units to put their own life in jeopardy when saving others in unsafe conditions.

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Nick Klamecki, Author
About Nick Klamecki, Author

Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use. Learn more about Nick here or connect with him on LinkedIn | Medium