Having written about the many advantages of Evac Chairs now for sometime, I was pleasantly surprised to see one on a recent visit to Imperial War Museum North. Indeed, more specifically I should add because for the fourth time of visiting the Museum to assist my son is in his history studies, I had actually the opportunity to go up in the lift to view the Manchester skyline (including Coronation Street!) from the observation platform. Usually in the day job, I am stuck at the bottom with the students who don’t wish to brave it.
So on this occasion, I decided to myself brave the 100 foot Air Shard to take a glance at the beautiful Manchester city skyline. You can take the lift or brave the 180 steps up, which I was pleased to see were served by Evac Chairs, given that when I looked through the grills of the platform I froze to the spot. I have a fear of heights, yet I push myself beyond it sometimes as one only lives once!
“Aha!”, I said to my husband as I managed to get along the path to the part level with the stairs, “They have Evac Chairs. Look!”
“You will be fine then if you have one of your moments with heights. Just don’t look down through the grills and just look out onto the beautiful scenery. Oh look Coronation Street!” he exclaimed.
Whilst the skyline view is stunning and I was impressed we could see more or less the whole of the Coronation Street set from here, soon my fear of heights was overwhelming and I just wanted to get down to ground level, particularly as it was a windy day! However, by the time I got level with the stairs my feet had glued themselves to the spot and my son wanted to go in the lift. Fear consumed me and I think I would have been quite happy to go down in the Evac Chair with the tour guide. However, supported by my husband, who is now well versed in dealing with my phobia, I managed to get into the lift and get back to Terra Firma.
Meeting my Grandmother at the bottom, who had been up there before us, the conservation quickly turned to towers, sky scrapers and funnily enough the miraculous Evac Chair! She suffers with joint problems and is always comforted to see an Evac Chair for reasons different to myself.
“I think they are great”, she said, “You write about them all the time. What do you know about them?”
“They are a light weight and easy to use device, which glides effortlessly down stairways to assist with the quick and safe removal of people, who are mobility impaired in the event of an emergency evacuation. It has a fold out mechanism, which can be activated by a single user who is trained to use the chair and involves no heavy lifting. What’s more they can be used in the event of a natural disaster, unlike other evacuation devices”, I replied.
With my fear of heights, I am always pleased to see an Evac Chair but for physically impaired individuals, these humble pieces of evacuation equipment provide an invaluable lifeline in an emergency situation.