Lifts may save lives in emergencies new ISO technical report

Common wisdom dictates that we do not take lifts (elevators) when evacuating buildings. However, a new ISO technical report reveals that lifts may be viable escape options, and provides a decision chart to help identify risks. These findings may save the lives of people who have difficulties using stairs, such as the disabled, the elderly, pregnant women, and small children.

Lifts (elevators) – Study of the use of lifts for evacuation during an emergency ISO/TR 25743:2010 investigates and highlights the main risks associated with using lifts to evacuate persons in various types of emergencies including fires, explosions, chemical or biological attacks, flooding, lightening or storm damage, earthquakes, and gas leakage.

ISO/TR 25743 provides building designers and fire engineers with a decision-making process to determine if a given design can enable the safe use of lifts in an emergency for a particular building. The report can be applied to lifts and buildings of any size, whether new or existing.

ISO/TR 25743 includes an innovative easy-to-read chart, which guides users through a yes/no decision-making process asking questions such as:

  • is the emergency a fire?
  • should the building be evacuated?
  • has the structure been compromised?

Each answer leads to another question, or to an informed decision. Detailed explanations are given in an annex.

'The report provides guidance, but clearly the final decision will be taken by the building designer,' says Derek Smith, Project Leader of ISO/TR 25743. 'Not all buildings are subject to the same risks and it is up to the designer to identify the most important risks for each structure and select the most appropriate solutions.'

To purchase PDFs of ISO Standards from Standards New Zealand please email or call 0800 782 632 during business hours. ISO Standards in hardcopy format are also available for purchase from by entering the Standard number and selecting the ISO button in the search panel.

Published in international.