1. A modular, flexible, safety chute for permitting access to structure, in situations where normal access is limited with detachable sections composed of individual detachable modules comprising: a. A latitudinal section with one or more springs to provide elasticity and flexibility; b. A set of support hooks to provide the means to attach the section to other sections or to the pivoting point; c. A longitudinal section with two convex edges, which the person moving stays parallel to; d. A handle to provide support while moving along the chute; and e. A viewing hole;
2. A safety chute of claim 1 wherein each of the detachable modules are a discrete unit where the springs along the latitudinal section are present at both ends of the detachable
3. A safety chute of claim 1 wherein a plurality of sections are attached to each other, in order to fit structures or buildings of different heights.
4. A safety chute of claim 1 wherein the support hooks can be used to attach the sections to a pivoting point on a structure including buildings, wherein the pivoting point could be any of: a. A building parapet; b. A windowsill; c. A ship-deck; and d. Any firm support structure, which can support the weight of the chute and the persons moving down it.
5. A safety chute of claim 1 wherein the support hooks are C-shaped.
6. A safety chute of claim 1 wherein the chute can be stored at the building where it might be used, alongside emergency equipment.
7. A safety chute of claim 1 wherein the chute can be assembled or dis-assembled by attaching a plurality of detachable sections, by means of the support hooks.
afety chute of claim 1 wherein the sections are made of materials including: a. Fire-proof materials; b. Water-proof materials; c. Wind-proof materials; and d. Elastic, ergonomic materials.
A SAFETY CHUTE
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to a safety chute, which is in the realm of alternative access devices, used to enter and exit structures, in case the regular access methods are unavailable due to unforeseen emergencies.
DISCUSSION OF PRIOR ART
Safety apparatus have been proposed in order to deal with a number of contingencies, including fire, earthquakes and other natural or accidental disasters. Getting people out of multi-storied buildings has gained interest after the recent spate of world events. Alternate access devices are imperative, when the normal modes of access (stairs, elevators) etc. are unavailable, either due to an emergency or due to any of number of unforeseen circumstances. The key features of an alternative access device would be ease of installation and operation. Besides these key characteristics, the device would also need to be designed in order to be modular, thereby catering to a range of structural dimensions, such as buildings with a plurality of floors. The modular design would lend itself easily to adapting the same alternative access device to any structure.
Chutes have been proposed for use in multi-storied buildings to cater to a variety of purposes including, the movement of raw materials at the time of construction, disposal of wastes, movement of laundry in old-fashioned hotel structures and for use in evacuation in high-rises. These chutes are designed in a multitude of ways, some including a lining for resilience, some being flexible for easy movement of whatever they are carrying etc. The lumber industry has also been known to utilize chutes such as a timber slide or a log flume.
KR20030037207 proposes an emergency rescue apparatus for a high building wherein a user can get to the ground level by means of a chute. This apparatus has an essential storage component and is not modular, per the chute of the present invention. JP2006138116 proposes a Safety Chute for external wall repair work and wall repair method wherein the primary function of the chute is to safeguard a cleaner or a repair-man, who is hoisted somewhere along the face of a multi-story building. US2006151280 proposes a Bulk Material Precision Transfer Chute Apparatus wherein two conveyors, a flow conveyor and a receiver conveyor, work in conjunction
to transfer material. This is not used to evacuate people at the time of emergencies. US20070741969 proposes an Adjustable Guide Chute and method for processing containers wherein the said chute is adjustable, but is utilized for purposes other than emergency evacuation. CA2540419 proposes a Building Evacuation System wherein a vertical chute is provided for each floor of a building to be fitted for evacuation. As opposed to the present invention, this is not a modular design and requires controlled release of the person who is using the chute, introducing several breaking mechanisms and a cumbersome assembly and installation process.
The apparatus of the present invention proposes a modular, easy-to-install, flexible folding chute, which can be set up and reused, for emergency evacuation of people and required entities, from multi-story building. The robust design of the present apparatus lends itself to adapting the chute for buildings of any height. Support hooks form the hinges, which attach themselves easily to any building. By using a plurality of detachable sections, made of water-proof material, complete with guiding rails, viewing holes and handles, the apparatus of the present invention is a useful solution for emergency evacuations. Furthermore, the apparatus of the present invention provides a person with a fear of heights a secure feeling as they are not exposed to the outside, and simulates a sensation of walking down a ladder, when in use.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention proposes a modular, easy-to-install, flexible, folding safety chute, for use in buildings of varying heights. The chute of the present invention is easy to set-up and tear down. By using a plurality of detachable sections, the chute of the present invention is easily manufactured as repeatable modules. The detachable sections are a unit in themselves, comprised of hooks, viewing holes, handles and spring-based action for safe exit of people stuck in an emergency, within a building. By the use of water-proof or fire-resilient material, the chute of the present invention can be adapted to serve a variety of natural and accidental disasters. The other key aspect of the present invention is that it keeps the person being rescued unaware of the chaos outside, and in case a person is afraid of heights, they are not pushed into a state of panic, during the use of the apparatus. The chute of the present invention simulates a feeling of descending a staircase, in order to provide easy exit to people, with varying levels of awareness or fear of heights.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
Fig. 1 shows the entire chute, adapted to any general-purpose structure.
Fig. 2 shows the top view of one of the detachable modules in the chute.
Fig. 3 shows the position of a person moving through one unit of the chute of the present invention.
Fig. 4 shows the first anchoring mechanism, where the chute is pivoted to the top of a building.
Fig. 5 shows the second anchoring mechanism, where the chute is pivoted to a window-sill.
Fig. 6 shows a third anchoring mechanism, where the chute is pivoted to a ship-deck.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
The safety chute of the present invention has the following functional characteristics: Modularity The chute of the present invention is designed as detachable modules, which are inter-connected, using as many modules as needed to fit the height of a specific building. This makes the chute easily adaptable, without having to know the height of a building beforehand, in order to use the chute.
Flexibility The chute of the present invention can be set-up, at any time. It lends itself to easy set-up and teardown, by being flexible in terms of how the modules are pre or post- attached to a pivoting body, along the side of a building, which is undergoing an emergency evacuation. In addition to this, the chute can be made using a variety of materials (water-proof, fire-proof etc.) and thereby used and re-used in a variety of scenarios.
Safety The chute of the present invention provides a sensation of using a set of stairs, for people that are afraid of heights. This is a key component as the chute of the present invention finds a majority of its use in emergency situations, when the evacuees are likely to be in a state of elevated panic.
Fig. 1 shows the side-view of the entire chute, adapted to a multi-story building. One or more detachable sections 1,2,3 are attached together to provide an emergency access
device. Each of the detachable sections have similar features and are modular in order to be re-used in conjunction with other sections, to fit a variety of building or structure sizes. Each section has a set of support hooks 4, which are used to attach the section to either of a pivoting point or another detachable section. A pivoting point is defined as a point in the structure, which is being accessed using the safety chute of the present invention, where the chute is held in place. In the case of the chute being used to evacuate people, from tall buildings, it is to be noted that most building terraces have a parapet, whose edge is at right angles to it. In case there are no parapets, the safety chute could alternatively be pivoted along window-sills or any firm protruding section, from a building. Each section has a set of handles 5, 6, which provide stable movement through the chute. Viewing holes 7 are present, in case the chute is being used to evacuate people. Fig. 1 shows the position of a person inside the chute; they are parallel to the longitudinal section of the chute. The section is elastic and has a cylindrical shape, with convex outer edges, said shape being provided by a one or more springs 8, along the latitudinal section, which render the sections elastic and flexible as seen in Fig. 2 that shows the top view 9 of one of the detachable modules in the chute. A set of springs 10 hold the ends of the detachable module in a nearly closed position. The compressive forces applied by the set of springs can be counteracted by the normal body-weight of an evacuee, to enter and exit the chute. The modules are separated in this fashion to serve a secondary purpose of holding the evacuees within a module, if the chute should move (for example, in the case of a storm in a ship or heavy winds at the side of buildings) during use. Fig. 3 shows the position of a person moving through one unit of the chute of the present invention. In this figure, we see that one module of the chute is designed to roughly hold one person in it. The person using the chute also uses the handles, in order to move parallel to the longitudinal section of the module 11. Fig. 4 shows the first anchoring mechanism, where the chute is pivoted to the top of a building. The chute of the present invention is not static in its length or design and the detachable modules lend themselves to adapting the chute to structures of varying sizes. As shown in Fig. 4, the support hooks 15 are pivoted to the top of a building 16. The person 17 using the chute to evacuate the building or alternatively access a safer place, in case the original access means are no longer available, starts by entering the detachable module at the very beginning 18 and moving
down, module 19 by module 20. Fig. 5 shows the second anchoring mechanism, where the chute is pivoted to a windowsill. This scenario could be envisioned when the building has no anchoring mechanism atop it (although, most buildings are known to have it) or the access to the outside is from the middle of a building. In this case, the support hooks 21 are pivoted to a windowsill 22. The person 23 using the chute, is moving longitudinally along the chute. An alternative scenario where multiple windows 24, 25 could be used as starting points by either serially or in parallel evacuating people from different building levels, can also be enabled by this embodiment of the invention. Fig. 6 shows a third anchoring mechanism, where the chute is pivoted to a ship-deck. The hooks 30 are pivotally attached to a ship deck 31 and the person using the chute 32 can safely exit the ship 33.
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