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Fire Protection Standards Put People with Disabilities at Risk

For Immediate Release             
June 6, 2017                    

Contact: David Card
202.408.9514 x122
press@ndrn.org

WASHINGTON – The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is deeply concerned that current fire codes violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and put people with disabilities at greater risk of injury in an emergency.

On Wednesday, June 7, members of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) will vote to amend the organization’s codes and standards. NDRN is urging the adoption of a series of amendments (101-3 through 101-7) that restores language allowing a single locking device on doors rather than the current code which permits multiple barricades meant to prevent access from the outside.

“It is understandable in the age of Sandy Hook that improving the security of public buildings, especially schools, is a primary concern,” said NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker. “However, the codes as they currently exist are actually making schools less safe by creating barriers for students with physical and sensory disabilities to exit buildings quickly.

“A scenario in which a student with a visual impairment is unable to escape during a fire because a doorway is barricaded shut for security reasons is not only imaginable, but probable,” continued Decker. “We believe the current codes violate the ADA and urge the NFPA to consider accessibility as they review their standards.”

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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.

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