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Emergency Exit Door Adapted to Needs of People with Reduced Mobility

  • Synopsis: Published: 2012-03-16 - Development of a door for emergency exits adapted for people with functional diversity. For further information pertaining to this article contact:

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An innovative door adapted to the needs of people with reduced mobility is developed for emergency exits.

Tecnalia Research and Innovation is participating in the Saleme project together with the Spanish companies Demesel, Tesa and Ingema - the Matia Gerontology Institute -, in the development of a door for emergency exits adapted for people with functional diversity.

Emergency exit doors are easy to open, and this can facilitate evacuation from a building. The problem lies in the fact that these doors are used in extreme situations, like a fire or in the event of an emergency. In these cases the simple operating of the bar to open the door can be a difficult action to carry out for a variety of reasons: functional capacity, the user's state of consciousness, or lack of visibility, etc. In this project, a door that can be opened easily and rapidly has been developed for use in hospitals, public centers, industrial premises, etc.

The result of the project is a metal fire door suitable for evacuation purposes. This door does not look any different from the ones we have at the moment; its added value lies in the fact that it can be opened by body pressure on the upper or lower panels which have had sensors built into them to activate the panic exit device. When the door detects slight pressure on any of these panels, the opening mechanism is automatically activated, which is tremendously useful when evacuating premises where there are large number of persons with reduced mobility.

Indeed, the final validation of the product was carried out by this very group of people, users with reduced mobility, on the ground floor of the Hospital Bermingham of the Matia Foundation in Donostia-San Sebastian (Basque Country). Among the users who tested the product were elderly people who live independently in their own homes, people who come to the hospital's day care center, and people with motor functional impairment from the Matia Foundation's IZA center who use wheelchairs to get around. 63.5% of the users who tried the door to see how it worked said it could be opened easily, and 6.5% said very easily.

With respect to the criteria for rating a door according to its fire resistance (according to the EN 13501-2:2007+A1:2009 standard) the door developed in the Saleme project has achieved EI 90 classification, in other words, for at least 90 minutes the door performed correctly in terms of insulation and integrity, and no faults occurred.

This innovative door goes beyond the requirements of current legislation in the matter of safety during evacuation and in the event of fire, and aims to cover social and safety needs that are not being adequately addressed.

Related Information:

  1. Disaster and Emergency Planning for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities - Information regarding disaster and emergency planning and procedures for seniors and persons with disabilities in emergencies.
  2. Emergency Department Use for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities - First North American study to look at ED use by adults with intellectual disabilities.
  3. Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities - Training materials on how best to assist people with disabilities during an emergency or disaster.

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