The multiple floors of a high-rise building create the cumulative effect of requiring great numbers of persons to travel great vertical distances on stairs in order to evacuate the building. In the evacuation of the World Trade Center high-rise office towers following the terrorist bombing in 1993, the tens of thousands of building occupants successfully and safely traversed some five million person-flights of stairs.
Evacuation and planning information
NFPA report: High-Rise Building Fires
In 2007-2011, an estimated 15,400 reported high-rise structure fires per year resulted in associated losses of 46 civilian deaths, 530 civilian injuries, and $219 million in direct property damage per year. An estimated 3% of all 2007-2011 reported structure fires were in high-rise buildings. Download NFPA's "High-Rise Building Fires" report.
NFPA Journal® special report
September 2011 -- Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, NFPA launched a widespread effort to strengthen codes and standards for first responder safety, the built environment, emergency preparedness, and more. Ten years later, those efforts continue — and they’re making America safer. This feature, "A Decade of Difference", includes a report on high-rise building and first responder safety and an interview with an NFPA investigator who recalls his work at Ground Zero.
NFPA video: High-Rise Evacuation
High-rise office buildings are designed to be safe, but if a full-scale evacuation is required, employees need to be ready to act quickly and take responsibility for their own safety. Learn more about NFPA's High-Rise Evacuation video.