The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, is designed to ensure all Americans, including those with a wide range of disabilities, have equal access to facilities, services, and businesses. This means that property owners and managers must, by law, both remove any structural barriers that may make access difficult for people with impairments impacting their mobility, vision, hearing, speech, and cognitive functioning.
Fire Safety & ADA Compliance
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to ADA compliance and fire safety, particularly since the ADA covers a wide range of disabilities that go well beyond the mobility issues that many people think of when it comes to ADA compliance.
For example, a person who has a hearing impairment might not be readily identified as being disabled, however, in the case of a fire, that person may be unable to hear the alarm – that’s why ADA guidelines indicate that critical information must be communicated in a way that minimizes barriers. The simple solution here is to install fire alarms that combine both a loud auditory alarm with a distinctive visual strobe.
Another critical ADA compliance issue related to fire safety equipment is the style and placement of both fire alarms and fire extinguishers. ADA guidelines state that wall-mounted fixtures must be no more than 48 inches above the floor – this is to allow access to the equipment from a seated position. Emergency exit routes must also be designed to be barrier-free, which could mean ensuring that door clearances are wide enough to accommodate mobility devices and braille is included on all the signage.
For More Information
When you consider that an estimated one out of every five American adults has one or more ADA-qualifying disabilities, the reality is that ADA compliance impacts more people than you might think.
To learn more about your legal responsibilities related to the ADA and fire safety equipment, contact us here at CGS. We are committed to delivering customized, code-compliant commercial fire safety solutions that are designed to provide reliable functionality combined with cost-effective technologies that are easy to use and maintain.