22 Emergency Fire Preparedness PDF version
Emergency fire preparedness and evacuation planning is an integral part of providing a barrier-free environment for students and staff with disabilities. Clear corridors, appropriate emergency planning, training and visual alarms all contribute to a well-conceived plan.
Emergency egress should involve the provision of a safe and efficient system of communication and evacuation for all persons.
22.2 Egress Routes
Accessible routes serving any accessible space shall also serve as a means of egress for emergencies or connect to an accessible area of rescue assistance.
Egress routes shall meet minimum clear width requirements at all times. Corridors shall not be used to store refuse or supplies and shall be kept free of obstacles, as they can block required manoeuvring space and create tripping hazards for persons who are visually impaired. (See Section 2, General Requirements.)
22.2.1 All egress routes shall lead to exits that provide level access or are ramped. If some egress routes do not lead to an accessible exit door, the barrier-free path of travel should be marked with directional signage.
22.2.2 A rough texture should be provided on the underside of handrails on exit level floors. (See Handrails 9.6e.)
22.3 Audio and Visual Alarms.
Audible emergency warnings, ie. the fire alarm or smoke alarm, do not alert persons with hearing impairments, therefore visual alarms or alternate communication devices are necessary.
Although the OBC requires that "in a building or portion thereof intended for use primarily by person with hearing impairments, visual signal appliances shall be installed in addition to audible signal appliances (OBC 22.214.171.124.(5))", visual alarms should be provided in all facilities where an employee or student who is deaf or hard of hearing may be located. All washrooms should be provided with visual alarms. Visual alarm signal appliances should be integrated into the building or facility alarm system. If single station audible alarms are provided then single station visual alarm signals should also be provided.
A vibrating beeper that can be used to warn a person with a hearing impairment in the event of an emergency can be used for employees or students as an alternative measure.
For new construction and renovation of existing facilities, visual signal appliances should be provided in buildings and facilities in each of the following areas: restrooms, general usage areas (e.g. meeting rooms), hallways, lobbies and any area for common use.
Flashing lights may trigger the onset of an epileptic seizure but the following specifications have been proven effective and were developed after extensive testing. Care must be taken, though, to avoid reflective lighting that may affect the flash rate.
22.3.1 Visual alarm signals shall have the following minimum photometric features:
22.3.2 The appliance shall be placed 2030 mm above the highest floor level within the space or 152 mm below the ceiling, whichever is lower.
22.3.3 In general, no place in any room or space required to have a visual signal appliance shall be more than 15 m from the signal (in the horizontal plane). In large rooms and spaces exceeding 30 m across, without obstructions 2 m above the finished floor, such as auditoriums, devices may be placed around the perimeter, spaced a maximum 30 m apart, in lieu of suspending appliances from the ceiling.
22.3.4 No place in common corridors or hallways in which visual alarm signalling appliances are required shall be more than 15 m from the signal.
22.4 Areas of Refuge
Signs along the normal route of egress should indicate the direction to the area of refuge.
An area of refuge could be an enlarged landing in an exit stair but the door should not encroach on the space for wheelchairs.
Areas of refuge shall be located in high buildings (OBC 126.96.36.199) and should:
22.5 Fire Protection Strategies
Where barrier-free access is incorporated above or below the first storey of a building, at least one of the following strategies should be considered to provide people with disabilities with an appropriate level of fire protection:
Security and staff should be trained in disability awareness and communication techniques for fire safety for persons with disabilities.
22.6 Emergency Plans
Signage displaying emergency egress routes and plans should be located in an obvious and accessible place in each building and should include a statement that emergency plans are available in alternate formats (and where they can be obtained). Alternate formats include large print, braille, computer disk or audio tape.
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