The Zephinie Escape Chute

Pioneering High Rise Vertical Evacuation since 1968


Statement on escape device

NFPA online
NFPA Fact Sheets
Building Evacuations

Question: Should my building have any type of exterior escape device?


Items such as escape chutes and controlled descent devices are permitted by the Life Safety Code to provide escape routes in special structures, such as some towers and special manufacturing environments. They are not permitted, nor recommended by U.S.-based codes for commercial and public buildings. Such devices do not come close to the level of protection provided by the other code-mandated features.

This is the official NFPA's statement on escape device, and I agree with it, but...

Does the NFPA know about the 1973-1975 ZEC-ME evacuation technology when an American citizen ask the NFPA an opinion about "escape Chute" in C 2002?
for to say that "Such devices do not come close to the level of protection provided by the other code-mandated features."

The ZEC-ME was designed to work in strict conformity with the NFPA 101, Life Safety Code standard.

Fact strangely ignored for 25 years by specialists, having the ethic duty to assess any new available life saving technologies.
During the XX century hardly 10 escape chute techniques hare present, the ZEC-ME is obviously new and different of any previous arts.

The raison of stubborn and prejudicial rejections of the many petitions directed to the NFPA 101 life safety code's commissions regarding a scientific evaluation of new system in the period 1977-1980 remain to be explained.

Does recognized competence exclude potential involvement of conflict of interests?

No matter how excellent could be NFPA's codes, the NFPA remains an industry sponsored non-profit association founded on the belief that market competing forces will guarantee the impartiality.
The ZEC evacuation technology case will remains a showcase to question in the USA and worldwide such potential guarantees of impartiality.

What was the situation of the competing market force in presence during the late 70's 

a.- ATO later renamed Figgie International was struggling to control US safety industries incidentally related with the ZEC's market fields.

b.. A in deep research effectuated at the time shows that keys NFPA's commissions are supervised by peoples related with the ATO Group.

c. The NY Local Law# 5 battle is raging and ATO's share in the issues are billions.

d. The escape chute related US industry was insignificant, technically unfitted for high-rise evacuation and so not represented.

d. 25 years ago the foreign members of the NFPA are essentially local sale people of the US industry.
Safety industry is practically inexistent excepted in the few industrial countries. The excellent codes of the NFPA have for possible effect as the Microsoft OS "open" code standard to lead to a de facto "influence" to the market in the USA and Worldwide. Anywhere and in anytime if a single guy control 80% of the business, don't expect but the 5000 years old power rule: kill the competion.   
High-rise evacuation market development will be delayed for a quarter of century leading to Sep.11 WTC  evacuation catastrophe.

e.- High-rise building technical impossibility of evacuation was the only reason to expect billions dollars selling extra protection not required in other class of buildings that can be evacuated, arguing human safety obligation.

Those exposed circumstances can help to understand that the NFPA at the time and later for years never considered to assess a new technology that make high-rise building evacuation technically possible.

To oppose sprinkler fire defense to evacuation can be only be motivated by blinding cupidity.

The fact that tall towers evacuation as the WTC emergency could occur because sprinkler protection only could be efficient in normal fire is know and considered by the insurance risk expert worldwide since 25 years.

Tall buildings are generally safer in industrial countries regarding normal fire danger that average home dwelling.
Terrorism and abnormal circumstances are well know dangers that can make infernos and kill thousands. 25 years ago, the problem was yet known and remains.


Can we trust the hold time expectation of the free world's entrepreneurs in the fairness of guarantees of completive market forces, when a single company can take the control of most an industrial specialized field in only few years?

Public safety Prescriptive Technical Code is a scientific matter for which the Universities in America and Worldwide are in position to offer a greater degree of impartiality that Industry sponsored associations or Governments.
Business and politic have only duty to business and politic particular interests. Science is the only thing that human can freely share for mutual profit.   

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©  Copyright 1973, 2003 by Gerard  J. Zephinie .  All right reserved. No part of this document covered by the copyright hereon may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means - graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, taping, information storage and retrieval systems  without the written permission of Gerard J. Zephinie.

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