ADA: Emergency Preparations

  June 26, 2013

Most maintenance and engineering managers would agree that nothing is more critical than being prepared for an emergency. But most institutional and commercial facilities focus their efforts on business continuity, meaning records, equipment and property.

Although managers and others involved in emergency preparations understand life safety must come first, they often spend too little time developing strategies to get people out of the building, particularly people who cannot use the stairs to evacuate.

How many managers put the primary focus of planning on people, the most important and costliest element to replace? Beyond that, not enough planners talk about ways to plan for evacuations when not everyone is able to use stairs to leave a facility quickly.

For those planners who do consider human capital first, here are a few key questions:
  • Do you know everyone who comes in and out and spends time in your building everyday?
  • Do you know whether all of these people could safely evacuate the building without using stairs in an emergency?

Not counting individuals with obvious physical disabilities, managers and others involved in emergency planning need to consider individuals with:
  • a heart condition
  • a breathing condition
  • a panic disorder
  • a hearing loss.

They also should consider other types of unforeseen needs, such as the young person who just had surgery and is on crutches but works on the 30th floor of the building, or the long-time employee or tenant who recently might have been diagnosed with or treated for cancer or another medical condition.


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