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Fire Escape Sign CeilingThe speed of technology and innovation in the current era has made it possible to explore better ways to deal with escaping fires in emergencies. Fire escape chutes are one of the better fire escape methods. These options are more efficient and cost-effective than fire escape ladders, which have dominated the fire escape equipment market for a long time. 

Today, we will explore what fire escape chutes and slides are and discuss both options’ benefits and drawbacks. 

Fire Escape Chutes

Fire escape chutes are built for only one purpose, to assist people while they evacuate from a building in emergencies such as fires or earthquakes. These chutes are mostly installed in buildings where having a fire escape ladder is not pragmatic due to the property’s architecture. 

For example, taller buildings greater than three or four stories are not well suited for fire escape ladders. This is because it will take a lot longer for people to exit a building using ladders than to use a chute, which will deliver them safely to the ground within seconds. 

Utilizing fire escape chutes is easy as well. Just drop into the chute from whatever vantage point accessible on the floor you are on, and then the chute will do the rest. Before you know it, you will be slowly descent down onto the ground.

Fire Escape Slides

The concept of a fire escape slide is like that of a fire escape chute. The only difference here is the formation and materials used to construct the slide and the chute. While a fire escape chute is mainly made from fiberglass and other fabrics, the slides come in multiple varieties.

Fire escape slides can be made of concrete on either side of a building. However, a concrete construction may weaken as the years go by. Many other materials have come into the fray as well. You can now find stainless steel fire escape slides that are much more durable than their concrete counterparts. You can buy an inflatable version that can be easily stored under your bed or closet if you want to install a fire escape slide at your home, saving the space which a fire escape chute will take. Inflatable fire slides are also used by aircraft in case they need to vacate the plane quickly. 

One thing to keep in mind is that you need considerably more space to house a fire escape slide than a fire escape chute. This is because the slide is slanted at an angle to make the descent smooth and safe, but the chute is vertical as the special fabric slows down the person trying to escape. 

What are the Different Types of Escape Chutes? 

The construction of a chute depends on where you obtain it from since different countries have different chute designs. The most common design is one with a combination of three different fabric layers. The outer layer is fire and tear-proof, whereas the inner layers are flexible and heat resistant to allow for a safe escape while protecting from friction burns. This design is mostly used in Sweden. 

Australia and Korea have designed their chutes with a flexible ring to keep the escapee tucked in for a slow descent. German chutes are unique as they feature a spiral slide inside the chute, unlike any other version of the product. The same goes for the United States, where chutes are see-through and made with a Nylon net set at an angle, much like a fire escape slide.

What are the Different Types of Escape Slides?

The geometry of most fire escape slides is the same. A fully closed tunnel mounted onto the building’s side, behaving identically to the slides we used to play on when we were kids. 

The major difference is the material used to construct these slides. Stainless steel is utilized commonly in construction since it is durable and long-lasting, especially if you are using it with tall buildings. Other options are inflatable slides which do not take up any space usually. In case there is a need, they can be inflated within a few seconds to evacuate the building. However, sometimes a few seconds can make the difference between life and death. 

In some cases, people also construct slides using concrete. These are a good choice for homes as they can quickly descend into their backyard if there is an emergency. 

Pros and Cons of Fire Escape Chutes 

Pros

  • Significantly lower cost compared to fire escape ladders.
  • Instant descent in case a fire breaks out.
  • No maintenance required.
  • Easy to use
  • It does not take a lot of space.
  • No structural compromises needed for installation.

Cons

  • Limit on how many people can use it at a time.
  • The fabric may deteriorate over time.

Pros and Cons of Fire Escape Slides

Pros

  • Significantly lower cost compared to fire escape ladders.
  • Faster escape route than a fire staircase but slower than a chute.
  • Easy to use
  • Stainless steel slides have a long life.
  • The shape of the slide can be tailored according to your needs.
  • Can easily evacuate children and the elderly

Cons

  • More expensive than a fire escape chute.
  • It May take longer to evacuate through a slide.
  • Structural compromises might be needed for installation.

Wrapping Up

Both fire escape chutes and slides are effective options if you want to incorporate fire safety into a building or home. To make your choice easier, you need to evaluate your own needs. If you are looking for durability, then a stainless-steel slide is the best option you got. 

On the other hand, if you want a fire safety option for which you don’t have to make many structural compromises, then a fire escape chute is the way to go.

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