If your ship is destroyed, an escape pod is spawned for any characters aboard your ship regardless of all other factors. E.g. even fighters will spawn escape pods. This is so your character is not killed in combat.
"Clarr's a big mean jerk and he steals my lunch money and makes me cry."
The enabled/disabled button allows anyone in your ship to eject themselves from an outer room into an escape pod via the room actions page.
It should be noted that at this moment, you cannot replenish escape pods ejected in this manner. At this time, these escape pods are separate from the ones that spawn as a result of your ship being destroyed in ship combat.