"Rewriting the Myths, Redefining the Realities"
I read with interest your “Gaps seen in evacuation for disabled” article in the Fall 2001 issue of The Colorado Quarterly.
For more than 20 years, I worked for some of the world’s largest physical security companies, training security officers and building management on emergency policies and procedures. Generally, in planning for emergencies, people with disabilities were considered an important part of every evacuation plan. However, it became apparent that even the best made plans have weak areas. These areas became apparent whenever we conducted a security evaluation and realized that there were people with disabilities in areas not addressed by the emergency plan, and in many instances they were not known by the emergency management team responsible for evacuation planning and implementation, or by security personnel.
In these instances, security personnel were trained to be observant of visitors and workers who might need special assistance in the event of an evacuation.
The plans and training though, brought out something that should be readily apparent for all, and that is all people, especially people with disabilities, need to be aware of their environment and its potential for harm of themselves and others. One way to accomplish this in part is to open lines of communication between workers and supervisors, workers and co-workers, and workers and security and/or emergency team members to express personal concerns and to ensure that backup plans exist in the event the main plans fail due to lack of manpower or other critical elements; and that practice does improve emergency response performance. I have made it a practice, whenever possible, to get the word out that if you think a potential danger exists, express it, become a part of it, and become a part of the solution, because some day your life may depend upon it.
Thank you for your publication, and continue to emphasize to all that awareness and advocacy are important parts of improving the work place for all. We all look forward to the arrival of each issue of The Colorado Quarterly.
Independent Life Center, Inc.
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Copyright 2002 A&H Publishing Corporation