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Fire Safety For Wheelchair Users At Home & At Work

Fire Safety For Wheelchair Users At Home & At Work

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Fire Safety For Wheelchair Users At Home & At Work

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  1. Fire SafetyFor Wheelchair UsersAt Home & At Work Presented By: United Spinal Association www.unitedspinal.org Funding Assistance Provided by: The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation 1

  2. Funding Assistance Provided By: THE CRAIG H. NEILSEN FOUNDATION www.chnfoundation.org The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation is dedicated to supporting research and innovative rehabilitation programs to improve the quality of life for those with a spinal cord injury (SCI). Along with supporting researchers in the field of spinal cord injuries, the Foundation also offers grants to qualifying non-profit §501(c)(3) organizations that assist people living with a spinal cord injury. 2 2

  3. For technical assistance, please contact: Jennifer Perry Compliance Specialist Accessibility Services United Spinal Association jperry@unitedspinal.org 800.404.2898 #7504 – Phone www.accessibility-services.com www.unitedspinal.org 3 3

  4. Mission Statement: United Spinal Association is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders. 4 4

  5. United Spinal Association • Private, National Not for Profit Organization • Established in 1946 as Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association • All members have a spinal cord injury or disease • Name changed in January, 2004 to United Spinal Association Headquarters: Jackson Heights, NY Regional Offices: Philadelphia, Buffalo, Naples, FL & Washington DC 5 5

  6. Accessibility Services – A Program of United Spinal Association • Accessibility Training Programs • Plan Review Services • Consulting • Site Assessments & Reporting • 3rd Party Inspectors www.accessibility-services.com 6 6

  7. 1.) Review the features of building code life/fire safety requirements for newly constructed buildings and facilities that affect people with mobility impairments..2.)Review the evacuation protocols from the workplace and home for wheelchair users Training Goals: 7 7

  8. A May, 2009 study from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation found that 5.6 million Americans are paralyzed [1] (defined as a central nervous system disorder resulting in difficulty or inability to move upper or lower extremities.)Additionally, 1.275 million of paralyzed Americans have a spinal cord injury. Why Learn About Fire Safety for Wheelchair Users? [1] Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Report on the prevalence of spinal cord injury and paralysis in the United States 8 8

  9. Why Learn About Fire Safety for Wheelchair Users? Given that approximately 40% of persons with paraplegia and 30% of persons with quadriplegia eventually return to work and 87.9% of all persons with SCI who are discharged from rehabilitation programs are sent to a private, non-institutional residence (in most cases their homes before injury)[2] it becomes even more evident that education on fire safety for people with SCI at both home and work is necessary given this population’s unique evacuation needs in the event of an emergency. [2] National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, 619 19TH Street South - SRC 529, Birmingham, AL 35249-7330 9 9

  10. Why Learn About Fire Safety for Wheelchair Users? • While disasters and emergencies affect everyone, their impact on people with disabilities is often compounded by several factors, which necessitates the need for emergency planning prior to such a disaster or emergency. • Given the national tragedies in our recent past, including the tragedy of September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina, the special needs of people with disabilities in emergency evacuation situations, particularly those with SCI, has become an issue that all individuals must become familiar with. 10 10

  11. Why Learn About Fire Safety for Wheelchair Users? • Unfortunately, despite the statistics on the growing number of people with disabilities living and working independently throughout the United States, many employers, fire/code officials, municipal managers and people with disabilities themselves, are still unaware of the steps that should be taken to ensure the safety of people with disabilities in emergency situations. 11 11

  12. Why Learn About Fire Safety for Wheelchair Users? • Of particular concern for people with SCI is the proper use of areas of refuge, wide exit stairs, means of egress elevators and exterior areas of assisted rescue, all of which are required by the International Building Code (IBC), which is referenced in many jurisdictions nationwide. 12 12

  13. ICC International Code (ICC) Adoptions – February, 2010 13 13

  14. What the Law Says Because there are no federal guidelines requiring disaster or evacuation plans, many people are unclear about exactly whose responsibility this is. • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) does not require formal emergency plans. But ADA’s Titles I, II and III do require that employers, public services, and public accommodations and services operated by private entities, modify their policies and procedures to include people with disabilities. • Therefore, when evacuation plans are created or revised they need to include people with disabilities and activity limitations. 14 14

  15. In other words… • People with disabilities, building owners and managers, fire safety personnel and anyone else involved with the development of evacuation planning, is responsible for ensuring that the needs of people with disabilities are understood and addressed should an emergency situation arise. 15 15

  16. Applicable Building Code Requirements • International Building Code (IBC) • NFPA 5000 • Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) • Revised ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines 16 16

  17. Elements of Accessible Means of Egress – Key Definitions • Exit access – all elements of an interior accessible route • Exit – areas of refuge, enclosed stairways, elevators, horizontal exits, exit doors • Exit discharge – exterior accessible route 17 17

  18. United Spinal Association has worked to ensure that new state and model building codes integrate specific requirements to improve the life safety afforded to mobility-impaired persons in newly constructed buildings. 18 18

  19. The Building Code and Evacuation Planning • Generally, accessible spaces shall be provided with not less than one accessible means of egress. Where more than one means of egress is required from any accessible space, each accessible portion of the space shall be served by not less than two accessible means of egress. Exception: Accessible means of egress are not required in alterations to existing buildings. 19 19

  20. Protection • Areas of refuge • Horizontal exits • “Protect in Place” 20 20

  21. Key features of the International Building Code (IBC) Chapter 10 Accessible Means of Egress requirements that affect people with mobility impairments and should be considered when developing an evacuation plan are as follows: 21 21

  22. The Building Code and Evacuation Planning Areas of Refuge Areas of Refuge are fire rated safe havens on a building’s upper and below-grade floors designed for persons with mobility impairments to await further evacuation from the responding fire company. These areas can be provided in stair landings, elevator lobbies or an area that is properly fire-rated, and provides two-way emergency communication so that a wheelchair user can alert authorities to his or her location. 22 22

  23. Area of Refuge 23 23

  24. Areas of Refuge Location • On accessible route, • Direct access to a means of egress stairway or elevator, and • Separated from remainder of story by a smoke barrier 24 24

  25. Areas of Refuge: Exceptions for Smoke Barrier • Area located within stairway enclosure • Area of refuge and the building space it serves is equipped with an automatic sprinkler system 25 25

  26. Areas of Refuge: Other Requirements • Provide one 30”x48” wheelchair space for every 200 occupants served by the area of refuge • Wheelchair spaces shall not overlap required exit width • Two-way communication 26 26

  27. Space to accommodate a single wheelchair and its occupant – Area of Refuge 27 27

  28. 28 28

  29. Travel Distance • General means of egress travel distance requirements apply for areas of refuge. 29 29

  30. Accessible Means of Egress Signs • Areas of refuge identified • Instructions within areas of refuge • Signs at inaccessible exits • Braille and raised letters at all exit stairway enclosure entrances 30 30

  31. Identification 31 31

  32. Instructions and Communication 32 32

  33. Evacuation • Elevators equipped with standby power and firefighter service (ASME A17.1) • Evacuation stairs (48” clearance between handrails, 7” treads, 11” min. riser) 33 33

  34. The Building Code and Evacuation Planning • Means of Egress Elevators Elevators with stand-by power in addition to the fire service required of all elevators. The stand-by power enables fire fighters to travel to persons with mobility impairments on the upper or below-grade levels of a building and to evacuate them to the outdoors, even when a building’s normal electrical service is lost. These elevators are not intended to be used independently by people with mobility impairments in the event of an emergency. 34 34

  35. The Building Code and Evacuation Planning Means of Egress elevators are typically required in buildings with 5 or more stories. There are exceptions for buildings equipped throughout with automatic sprinkler systems on floors provided with a horizontal exit and located at or above the level of exit discharge and; The elevator shall not be required on floors provided with a ramp when the building is fully sprinklered. 35 35

  36. 36 36

  37. Platform Lifts • Platform (wheelchair) lifts shall not serve as part of an accessible means of egress, except where they are allowed to provide an accessible route to certain areas. Platform lifts shall be installed in accordance with ASME A17.1. 37 37

  38. Vertical Platform Lift 38 38

  39. Incline Platform Lift 39 39

  40. Stairway chair lifts are never permitted as part of a required accessible route. 40 40

  41. The Building Code and Evacuation Planning Wide Exit Stairs: Required to provide 48 inches between handrails so that three fire fighters will have enough room to carry a wheelchair user from a landing to safety. 41 41

  42. The Building Code and Evacuation Planning • Exterior Areas of Assisted Rescue Exterior Areas of Assisted Rescueare protected areas outside the exit doors of buildings designed to provide a safe area for persons with mobility impairments when the terrain or grade surrounding a building can’t be easily ramped to provide a safe route to a public area away from the building. 42 42

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  45. Suppression • Before 9-11 there was no history in the United States of multi-fatality fires in buildings fully protected by operational, supervised automatic sprinkler systems. 45 45

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  47. Evacuation Planning By understanding their special evacuation needs, first responders can improve the chances of evacuating people with mobility impairments safely. • Remember - There is no such thing as a “typical” or “model” evacuation plan for people with disabilities. • “Boiler-plate” plans are worthless, as they do not take into account the unique circumstances of each facility and each person. Make sure your site is not using a boiler-plate disaster plan. 47 47

  48. Evacuation Planning • Each building and sometimes building area (in large buildings) is unique and should have its own plan. • The main goal is to get persons with mobility impairments to a “safe area” until the fire department arrives. 48 48

  49. Evacuation Planning Stakeholders • Fire, safety, and building code officials • Emergency plan coordinators • Building owners and managers • Employers and supervisors • People with disabilities • Office fire marshals 49 49

  50. IMPORTANT! • The primary objective of an emergency evacuation plan is the protection from injury and preservation of human life. 50 50