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People with disabilities

More than 43 million Americans have a disability. The identity of the group of Americans with disabilities is constantly changing — at any moment we ourselves could become part of this group, for maybe a short time or maybe for a long time. 

NFPA has long been involved with developing strategies and fire safety educational materials for people with disabilities. Please download and use any of the free educational materials we have developed for people with disabilities, friends and families, and workplaces, schools and communities. You can also subscribe to our free quarterly newsletter to keep you up-to-date on news and issues on this important topic.

Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide
NFPA's Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities provides information on the five general categories of disabilities (mobility, visual, hearing, speech, and cognitive) and the four elements of evacuation information that occupants need:  notification, way finding, use of the way, and assistance. It also includes a checklist that building services managers and people with disabilities can use to design a personalized evacuation plan, as well as government resources and text based on the relevant code requirements and ADA criteria.

Updated May 2016  

Disabilities: Where We've Been, Where We Are, Where We're Going
On the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a look at some of the many efforts NFPA has undertaken to address the needs of people with disabilities
From NFPA Journal®, July/August 2010

Introduction by Allan B. Fraser, CBI, CPCA 

I had an epiphany about disabilities and accessibility many years ago. I was 28 years old and I was going back to work on crutches following knee surgery, the result of a sports injury. I was able to go up the stairs to my second-floor office, but at 5 p.m. that night I found that I had neither the balance nor the strength — or the nerve — to go back down. Fortunately, the building’s new elevator — one of the capital improvement projects I was responsible for — had been completed three days earlier, and I was able to hobble in and get a ride down. It suddenly occurred to me that for the next few weeks I was going to be a person with a disability. Read the full article.

In this presentation, an overview is given on the care that needs to be taken when using electricity, the proper way to plug in appliances, and what to do if fuses blows or circuit breakers trip.

Audio: Allan Fraser, NFPA's Senior Building Code Specialist, speaks about NFPA, accessibility, and life-safety issues for the disabled.

Safety challenges for people with disabilities

Why the Evacuation Planning Guide is important

More about the Evacuation Planning Guide

The delay in writing accessibility codes, and what is being done to expidite the process

In This Section
  • Educational materials NFPA offers a wealth of free educational materials for both consumers and public educators that deal directly with the safety needs of people with disabilities.
  • Safety videos in American Sign Language Safety tips for heating, cooking, electrical hazards and smoking in American Sign Language.
  • eACCESS newsletter Fire and life safety information for people with disabilities