The Built Environment, Evacuations, and Individualswith Disabilities: a Guiding Framework for Disaster Policy and Preparation
Journal of DisabilityPolicy Studies
Policy and planning for the evacuation of individuals with disabilities would benefit from a more informed and accepted understanding of the complexity of evacuation issues. This article proposes a framework perspective on 4 forms of emergency evacuation according to the timing and duration of the evacuation (protective, preventive, rescue, and reconstructive), as well as 3 overlying factors that affect all emergency evacuations: the behavior of the individual, the planned systems active in the event, and the environment in which the event occurs. The Americans with Disabilities Act Design Requirements for Accessible Egress is discussed to demonstrate the value of evaluating policy and planning according to the proposed framework. Recent catastrophic events have demonstrated a disproportionate effect of emergency evacuations on individuals with disabilities. These events have raised questions concerning the appropriateness and effectiveness of evacuation policies and practices, prompting many organizations to develop and disseminate evacuation planning solutions for the needs of individuals with disabilities. Policy and planning discussions for the evacuation of individuals with disabilities would benefit from a more informed and accepted understanding of the complexity of evacuation issues. This article attempts to explain the complexity by proposing a framework that emphasizes the conditions associated with various forms of emergency evacuations and factors that affect an individual's response to these conditions. The intent of the framework is to clarify the assumptions associated with emergency evacuations and to provide a framework that one may use to evaluate the appropriateness of the resulting policies and planning initiatives.
2007 Christensen, K.M., Blair, M.E., & Holt, J.M. The Built Environment, Evacuations, and Individuals with Disabilities: a guiding framework for disaster policy and preparation. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 17(4); 249-254