The National Institute of Standards and Technology has published a report on the challenges faced by people with mobility impairments during emergency evacuations from multi-story buildings.
NIST said Friday it conducted the Perspectives of Occupants with Mobility Impairments on Fire Evacuation and Elevators study through face-to-face interviews with 51 persons that have mobility impairments to discuss means to leave a building during a fire evacuation.
A question on the study involved the use of an occupant evacuation elevator designed to transport people with mobility impairments out of a building without the assistance of others as an alternative to the stairs method.
“For too long, building evacuation plans have been put in place with measures that designers believe people with mobility impairments will need… Our study shows that you can’t do it properly without listening to what they actually do require,” said Erica Kuligowski, co-author on the report.
NIST noted the respondents generally agreed that evacuation strategies should provide people with mobility impairments a feeling of safety, independence, an opportunity to remain with a mobility aid, a means to quickly evacuate and communicate with security.