NFPA releases updated Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities

May 31, 2016 – In an emergency evacuation, people with disabilities face significant challenges that building owners and occupants must seriously consider and plan for. The second edition of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities, which was officially released this past week, addresses the main evacuation elements needed for the disabled community.

The new guide is free and accessible online, and features updated statistics, graphics, photos and links. It also includes an expanded, more detailed checklist for the personal evacuation planning process.

“The updated guide reflects fire and life safety advocates’ collective commitment to providing the disabled community with the latest information, guidance and resources needed to safely evacuate an occupancy in an emergency evacuation,” said Allan Fraser, senior specialist for NFPA’s Building Fire Protection division. “In particular, we’ve incorporated increased accessibility to the guide, including technologies that allow screen readers who are blind or low vision to access content online.”

With input from NFPA’s Disability Access Review and Advisory Committee (DARAC) and other nationally recognized advocates, the guide was originally created in 2007 to create a comprehensive evacuation planning strategy for the disabled community that establishes the needs, criteria and minimum information necessary for proper planning. Identifying general categories of disabilities (mobility, visual, hearing, speech and cognitive impairments), the guide outlines the four elements of evacuation that occupants need in the event of an emergency: notification; way finding; use of the way; and assistance.

“Accessibility among the disabled community is a relatively recent subject that we’ve begun to address in fire and building codes, but it’s one we must continue to proactively focus on, so that we can fully meet the safety needs of people with disabilities,” said Fraser. “Moving forward, we plan to update the guide more frequently with timely updates and information that reflect the continually changing and evolving built environments in which we all work and live.” 

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.

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Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275