Re: Re: Fire Evacuation for people with Disabilities
I work in the Disability sector, though I’m not an architect. Here’s a few thoughts;
1) I didn’t think the NDA document was prescriptive at all. It provides lots of information about different technologies, but every building is different, so it really can’t be perscriptive. It seems to be aimed at Health & Safety people, rather than architects or engineers, though there isn’t much else out there for technical heads.
2) First step would be to talk to the PWD who will end up using the building. Understand how they will be using the building, and what barriers they encounter in their current building. They will probably tell you things like;
– We hate using Evac chairs, especially if we have to be lifted in/out of the chair by workmates
– We hate being left at the refuge zone while everyone else gets out. Seriously, would you accept this?
– We hate buildings that have inaccessibility features ‘designed in’ for no good reason other than style, such as level changes where no level change was necessary,
3) The best alternative to refuge zones is to design the building so that the vast majority of PWD can get out promptly and independently. So for multi-story buildings, make sure that the lifts are specced to be safe for use during evacuations (see BS 9999 for spec).
4) Other suggestions – Make sure that visual fire alarms are wired in from the start. Make sure that the interior design uses colour contrast effectively to highlight key routes, and features such as handrails. Ensure handrails are of appropriate shape (circular profile), fitted on both sides of any stairs and ramps, contrast in colour against the background, turned into the wall at start and end, and not made from metals that make them difficult to use in cold conditions. Make sure that there is little or no glare. Make sure that all fire exits have level egress, with no steps, stairs and no exits onto grass or gravel. Consider use of LED signage at emergency exits, for great conspicuity (sp?).
5) If a refuge zone is used, make sure there is a two-way communicaitons device fitted, and make sure that persons waiting at the refuge don’t impinge on others who are moving to evacuate.