ALARMS and WARNINGS

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ALARMS and WARNINGS

Fear of not knowing what to do in an emergency can deter many people with disabilities from going to new places. How will a blind person see flashing lights? How will a deaf person hear a warning siren? How does anyone know what to do when alarms go off?

Care and forethought by designers and service providers can reduce or even remove these problems.

ALARMS SOULD BE VISIBLE, AUDIBLE AND, IN SOME CASES, TACTILE.

INFORMATION ON WHAT TO DO WHEN AN ALARM SOUNDS SHOULD BE OBVIOUS TO FIND AND CLEAR IN ITS CONTENT. IT MAY NEED TO BE BROUGHT PARTICULARLY TO THE ATTENTION OF PEOPLE WITH VISION IMPAIRMENTS.



VISIBLE ALARMS and ROUTES

Simply flashing lights in an area can be enough to warn of problems but there should be clear information given out in advance as to what the alarm signifies and what should be done.

Escape routes and symbols should be obvious and checked along all their length, including widths of spaces for wheelchair users.

Wheelchair refuges where users should wait, if assistance is needed, should be clearly marked. The management procedures in the area should clearly define what staff are to do in assisting people with disabilities.

AUDIBLE ALARMS

People with vision impairments should be given information of what to do if alarms sound when arriving in a building where they are going to stay for any length of time. If they are not going to be there for long, a member of staff should know of their presence and what to do in an emergency.

TACTILE ALARMS

Where a person with hearing impairment is going to stay in accomodation, even for short periods, a vibrating alarm can be provided which will advise when audible alarms are sounding. This can be placed under a pillow at night to wake a deaf person.