SII to aid U.S. prepare tall-building evacuation standards

A cooperative agreement – the first of its type – has recently been signed between the Standards Institution of Israel and ASTM International, the largest American standards developing organization, in which SII will permit ASTM to use its draft standard for tall-building evacuation systems. This will facilitate the formulation of a series of parallel evacuation standards. Each standard will contain a reference noting that it was jointly prepared.

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, prompted Israeli manufacturers to develop non-stairway exit systems for the rapid evacuation of tall buildings. These systems, including among others a personal building-exterior elevator and a sleeve-slider device, could also be useful during fires and permit fire fighters and rescue teams access to upper floors. Developers of the systems turned to the Standards Institution of Israel requesting the development of a standard for tall-building evacuation systems. SII, working closely with the systems’ developers, wrote the draft standard that will be used by ASTM.

New York City Council Member Yvette Clark, Vice President and Senior Property Manager Leslie Thompson of Vornado Realty Trust, New York Tall Building Fire and Safety Association President Joe McCormick, and Easter Seals New York Consultant and former Deputy Commissioner of New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission Joseph Giannetto participated in an SII seminar this week devoted to tall-building evacuation. Participants commented positively after seeing demonstrations of several evacuations systems.

“The Standards Institution of Israel set a goal to promote homeland security,” said Ziva Patir, SII’s Director General. “As part of our broad efforts to promote international standardization, we are working to develop contacts with standards organizations in the U.S. for Israeli manufacturers, and building relations between our laboratories and leading laboratories in the United States.”