Non-electric elevator has potential to save lives in building fires

World Today

A group of researchers in Beijing are testing a new kind of equipment that, if successful, could significantly add to the chances of survival in a high-rise fire. CCTV’s Han Peng reported this story from Beijing.

The equipment, now installed in a 15-story, 40-meter-high, university dormitory, can carry four to five people each trip, from any floor, safely to the ground. Researchers say it’s a fire-proof elevator that operates without electricity.

Non-electric elevator has potential to save lives in building fires

A group of researchers in Beijing are testing a new kind of equipment that, if successful, could significantly add to the chances of survival in a high-rise fire. CCTV's Han Peng reported this story from Beijing.

“It works like a seesaw. When people get on one lift, the other side becomes lighter, so the elevator begins moving without consuming electricity. But as we know, there could be gravitational acceleration during the downward movement, so we have developed a sophisticated damping system to keep it rolling at a stable speed,” Liu Feng, general manager of the Anmin Rescue Technology Industry Group said.

As construction continues to boom across China, the increasing number of skyscrapers necessitates having safe and reliable rescue equipment in emergencies. In recent years, several deadly high-rise fires have shocked the nation.

In 2012, 58 residents were killed in a high apartment building in Shanghai and this May, two young firefighters died on duty as they fell from the 13th floor of a burning high-rise after fire cut off their route to ground.

The new equipment being tested at the university is making students feeling safer. However questions still remain about how the equipment will work on irregularly-shaped buildings, and whether it’s the most cost-effective method of fire rescue.