Firefighter Lift Vs Evacuation Lift

evacuation vs firefighter lift

What Is the Difference Between A Firefighter Lift and an Evacuation Lift?

The importance of firefighter lifts and evacuation lifts are being more widely known, due to tragic events such as Grenfell Tower the 24-story block of flats in North Kensington, London. As you may be aware the building caught on fire due to a fridge-freezer malfunction on the fourth floor fatally causing 72 deaths and over 70 people injured. With several known items highlighted so far, that could have prevented the devastating spread of this fire and aided the emergency services and rescue teams, of which the lifts installed into the building were not adequate, for evacuation or the fire services. Investigations are still ongoing.

With new legislation being incorporated to ensure such horrific occurrences are prevented in the future. Our team is being asked more and more what the difference is between a Firefighter lift and an Evacuation lift, so we have compiled this blog to give a basic overview of the main features.

Grenfell Tower, residential tower block, North Kensington, London

Evacuation Lifts vs Firefighter Lifts

Evacuation lifts should not be confused with firefighter lifts the main differences we will outline below. Checking if you need to install an evacuation lift as required by London Plan Policy D5(B5) is advised before making provisions to install a lift in the London area.

What is an Evacuation Lift?

An Evacuation lift is a lift system that is specifically designed to be used in an evacuation situation for the safe evacuation of people. Including people who require level access. These lifts are generally used as a normal passenger lift until required to evacuate people.

Main Features Include

  • Cause and effect interface between the lift control system, fire detection and alarm system to support the evacuation strategy.
  • Emergency intercom/communication system between car and all evacuation floors
  • Provision of a management plan to determine operational procedures for trained staff designated to manage and use the lift in an emergency.
  • Separate power supply to the lift to enable the lift to remain in use throughout the evacuation process.
  • Provision for trap door within the lift car
  • Lift car size shall be at least EN81-70 Type 2

British Standards

BS EN 81-76 when published BS 9991, BS 9999

people evacuating a building

What is a Firefighting Lift?

A firefighter lift is a lift system for the fire and rescue service to facilitate the safe conveyance of firefighting personnel and equipment in the event of an emergency.

These lifts are generally utilised as normal passenger lifts until required by the fire and rescue service in the event of an emergency.

Firefighter Lifts Main Features

  • A communication system between the lift car and the FSAL.
  • Provision for trap doors and ladders for rescue operations.
  • Separate power supply to enable the lift to remain in use.
  • Water protection provisions for electrical components in the shaft and on the lift car.
  • If distance between consecutive landing doorsills exceeds 7m, intermediate emergency doors shall be provided.
  • Reach the furthest floor from FSAL in 60 seconds. up to 200m travel.

British Standards

BS EN 81-72, BS 9991, BS 9999

Firefighter Going Up The Stairs in Burning Building.
Brief Summary of the main difference between an Evacuation Lift vs Firefighter Lift

There are similarities between the two types of lifts the main four differences however are highlighted below.

  • Evacuation lift requires a communication system on all evacuation landing floors.
  • Evacuation lift size shall be at least EN81-70 Type 2
  • A Firefighter lift must reach the furthest floor from FSAL in 60 seconds
  • A Firefighter lift requires water protection for electrical components and the lift car


iKONIC lift can provide both Evacuation and Firefighter lifts as well as provide Dual options that meet all requirements.

Contact us for more information and look out for more updates and information on our blogs section.

Both iKONIC Jupiter and iKONIC Hercules passenger lifts can meet the above standards.