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The Use of Elevators for Evacuation in Fire Emergencies in International Buildings



Max T. Kinateder, Hidemi Omori, Erica D. Kuligowski


The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of elevator evacuation from high-rise buildings with a focus on the safety of mobility impaired occupants. It addresses the specifics of elevator evacuation as well as relevant building codes and its technical challenges. Information was collected on how selected buildings around the world incorporate elevators into their emergency evacuation procedures. Seven buildings complexes around the world have been identified and reviewed in this report. A section of this report is devoted to each building, providing information on the building facts (height, number of floors etc.), the building’s general fire evacuation features, as well as evacuation plans, including elevators for mobility impaired occupants. Information on each building in this report was obtained from publicly available resources on emergency procedures as well as personal communications with building officials responsible for emergency procedures. Furthermore, the report gives an overview of the scientific background of the human factors of elevator evacuation, identifies research gaps, and summarizes the findings in a conclusion.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1825
Report Number


Elevator evacuation, human factors, building codes


Kinateder, M. , Omori, H. and Kuligowski, E. (2014), The Use of Elevators for Evacuation in Fire Emergencies in International Buildings, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 26, 2024)


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Created July 21, 2014, Updated November 10, 2018