DRDO scientists develop fibre-made device for safe evacuation from high-rise buildings


New Delhi, Dec 5: In a pioneering innovation, India’s defence scientists have developed an easy-to-use Emergency Escape Chute (EEC) made of fire-resistant fibre for evacuating people trapped inside skyscrapers, on oil rig platforms or mercantile ships following calamities such as fire and earthquake.  

The device, developed by Delhi-based Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES), a lab of DRDO, Ministry of Defence, has been showcased at India’s biggest-ever Science & Technology and Industrial Expo at IIT Delhi. 

Dr Pravin Rajput, Deputy Director of CFEES who was involved in the development of the device, said the EEC is a tubular fishnet made of strong fire-resistant Kevlar fibre which is kept extended by aluminium alloy rings placed at intervals of one meter. It can easily be transported and hung from a high-rise building in the event of a natural disaster

“It can take loads of up to five tons and can also be used together with auto-inflatable rafts. The device is stronger than steel and can go as high as 50 metres. People trapped in buildings that high can be speedily and safely evacuated. Also, the fail-safe contraption is simple and safe to use and requires no training or practice,” he explained.  

“We have already secured a patent for the EEC. We are now looking for technology transfer and industry partnerships to make it marketable,” informed the official. 

The EEC has been developed after a research work of three years and it costs Rs 80,000-90,000 per metre. A normal EEC will cost around Rs 15 lakh. “However, the prices will substantially come down once its commercial production starts,” Dr Rajput said.

“In creating the EEC, our efforts have been geared towards providing an effective and cheaper alternative to a hydraulic lift or tower/aerial ladder made of steel. Modifications as per requirement are  possible and the EEC can also be used for rescue operations where it can be attached to a helicopter from where a person can jump into it and land safely on the ground/floor/roof or vice versa,” he said. 

The CFEES has also developed a lightweight 'fire proximity suit' which has five layers of protective material.

The expo is part of the five-day India International Science Festival (IISF) 2015 — a joint event of the Ministry of Science and Technology (DST, DBT and DSIR/CSIR) and the Ministry of Earth Sciences — which began yesterday. It is being organised in collaboration with Vijnana Bharati, the largest science movement in the country, with the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) as the nodal agency.

 

More than 240 stalls have been set up inside a spacious venue spanning over 100,000 sq ft for the expo where top national and state-level organizations are showcasing their innovations. These include DRDO, CSIR, Ministry of AYUSH, RGCB, HAL, Spices Board, BEL, NTPC, IIT Indore, ICMR and Ministry of Earth Sciences, which are showcasing cutting edge technologies and innovations from the country’s finest R&D and academic institutions.

The expo is open for the public from 1030 hrs to 1800 hrs until December 8. 

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