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Localised power for emergency evacuations

Traditionally, health and safety has dictated that lifts cannot be used in emergencies. However, there is a need to improve facilities for the evacuation of disabled, injured or incapacitated people.

Localised power for emergency evacuation

Power Systems International, in collaboration with Cambridgeshire County Council, has embarked upon a pioneering initiative to provide purpose built Emergency Lift Power Systems (ELPS) for dedicated evacuation lifts at schools, libraries, hospitals, and other public buildings.

The ELPS has been designed with this in mind and enables Designated Evacuation Lifts to operate safely and efficiently. These ELPS features, including an authorised manual control by means of a key switch and the facility for change-over between dual power source feeders, enable Emergency Evacuation Lifts to operate in line with the Disability Discrimination Act.

A crucial ELPS feature is its application as a ‘point of use’ power source. This compact unit is intended for installation adjacent to the lift location and does not emit the heat, noise, smoke, fuel spills or toxic fumes associated with diesel generators. Neither does it require the cost of fuel storage or long cable lengths. Standby power is perhaps an obvious requirement for emergency situations, but what if the cabling from the power source to the point of use is damaged? A centralised system leaves critical emergency lighting, lifts or other vital operations at a very real risk. So why leave huge lengths of site-wide cable vulnerable to theft, fire damage or a system circuit failure when ‘point of use’ power system installation can provide the guarantee needed in an emergency? The ELPS provides power at the point where it is actually needed, giving peace of mind should an emergency situation arise.

With the importance of ‘point of use’ in mind, the ELPS has been designed with the facility to power Designated Evacuation Lifts simultaneously with Emergency Lighting and Smoke Extraction Fan Motors for refuge areas. The ELPS emergency power system should essentially be considered as a ‘black box’ solution. There is little point in evacuating disabled people into a safe refuge area when fire damaged cables have caused emergency lighting from a central battery system to fail to deliver power to the point of use. Neither is there when a refuge area is full of smoke due to the failure of power feeding the extraction fan motors. Therefore, a secondary function is provided in the ELPS system design with an optional feature to deliver power for locally installed smoke evacuation fan motors and localised emergency lighting on refuge landings. Providing power to exactly where it is needed in an emergency, the ELPS is a multifaceted power package.

The standby ELPS, with compact rugged steel enclosure, comprises of a high performance rectifier battery charger, maintenance-free battery and a pulse width modulation (PWM) IGBT three phase sine wave output inverter with isolation output transformer, heavy duty filter and automatic bypass. This purpose-built power system should not be confused with a UPS system as it is designed specifically to supply power to the 3 phase VVVF traction drives and motor driven lift hoist units of evacuation lifts during an emergency situation or when the public power supply is inaccessible. The lift can be isolated and controlled manually by authorised personnel by use of an external command point remote control unit, installed close to the position of the call button, as prescribed in BS9999.


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