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Clearing a Path for People with Special Needs Clears a Path for Everyone

Blog Post created by luciandeaton Employee on Jun 10, 2014

NFPA's Conference & Expo 2014, Las Vegas, NV

Dispatches from Mandalay – “Clearing a path for people with special needs clears a path for everyone,” was the message on Tuesday at NFPA C&E from Alan Fraser, Senior Building Code Specialist with NFPA. 

In his well-attended session on emergency evacuation planning and the 20% of the population missed, Fraser explained to the audience that we must consider what evacuation means to us when we become disabled, and not if we become disabled.  

NFPACE 2014 Fraser Evac Presentation

Often referred to as, “people with access and functional needs,” Fraser explained that, in addition at-risk populations like children and the elderly, approximately 56 million Americans deal with speech, hearing, sight, mobility, or cognitive challenges that complicate their ability to receive and respond to evacuation calls. 

In wildland fire, whether it be a half-acre leaf fire in a housing development, or a multi-thousand acre “media fire” out west, the risk to residents and resources remains the same.  The ability for all residents in a community to receive important information and have the ability to act upon it in a timely manner is important for their wellbeing, and that of public safety personnel moving into effected areas

Fraser stressed that in the, “emergency evacuation cone of response” – which starts at the individual and builds out past the home and community, to jurisdiction and beyond depending upon the risk – the role that each resident can play and the requirements for necessary communication between levels and local actors must be identified and connected before an event occurs. 

Fire Adapted Communities strongly promotes such interaction and dialogue between the various audiences that face the common threat of wildfire.  Learn more about the role you can play and the connections you can make with others in your greater community.    

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