Fire & Risk Engineering Award of Excellence: 181 Fremont, San Francisco

Eric Lundquist
Heller Manus Architects, San Francisco

Occupant Evacuation Elevators: The Future of Tall Fire Safety

181 Fremont is the first tall building in the US to fully use Occupant Evacuation Operation (OEO) as a means of evacuation and firefighting in an emergency. OEO is the specific elevator system of operations that tells Occupant Evacuation Elevators (OEE) where, when and how to safely evacuate people in a fire or another emergency. There are elevator systems in a handful of skyscrapers around the world that incorporate attributes of OEEs, but unlike 181 Fremont, they stop short of having full OEO function.

OEO elevators will have a significant impact on the building industry. They will facilitate safer buildings due to speed of evacuation and emergency response. There would also be fewer code-required stairs in tall buildings, due to the elevators replacing a required third stair in buildings over 420 feet (128 meters). They will create more resilient buildings, due to hoistway protection and robust structure. The buildings will also be more intelligent, because of the necessary integration of the elevators with the building management systems and interoperability with other building systems.

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