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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

BADD 2009: The Unbearable Slowness of Being

BADD has rather sneaked up on me this year. This may be on account of BADD 2008 having only taken place a couple of weeks ago. (If that doesn't make any sense to you, just wait until you're middle-aged.)

I had been intending to be the sort of sensible person who drafted her BADD entry last weekend. But it was sunny and there were flowers to photograph. Well, that and I couldn't think of anything to write about. Which is not to say that there aren't all manner of things which I could write about, you understand.

I could tell you about the poor man who phoned me in tears one morning last week because his managers don't seem to be able to grasp that they have an obligation to make what is actually a very straightforward reasonable adjustment and because his colleagues are making fun of him because he's different.

I could tell you about a diversity awards ceremony I recently attended at which some bumptious idiot introduced his own self-important slot in the proceedings with the words, "Right! I want everyone in the room to stand up!"

I could tell you about the "revised" national parking policy which actively discriminates against a high proportion of an organisation's disabled staff.

But I don't want to tell you about any of those things. Partly because it would be tricky to do so in detail without identifying the victim/culprit/organisation/myself, and partly because, in all honesty, I'm fed up to the back teeth with those particular issues.

How kind, then, of one of the people who works in (or, at least, is paid for attending) my building to have made the effort of dropping ideal BADD-fodder into my lap this week. You're going to love this...



But first, some background:-

I have worked on the fourth floor of a four-floor office building for about ten years. For even longer than that (see how I assume only young people read blogs?), the building's "fire lifts" have been used to evacuate those disabled people whose impairments prevent them from hurtling down the stairs with their non-disabled colleagues during fire drills and genuine emergencies.

But not any more.

The landlords, in their infinite wisdom, have decreed that the "fire lifts" don't meet the necessary specs to be used for this purpose. And, in fact, they never did. So, to spare you the long, tedious rounds of negotiation and counter-argument, let's cut straight to the result: no more being evacuated in the lift.

A colleague and I can make it down all the stairs we need to get down in order to get out of the building if we really have to. But we would both have to go straight home thereafter, and it would take us both a day or two to recuperate. So our Personal Evacuation Plans (PEPs) stipulate that we will only attempt that descent in a genuine emergency.

(I'm relieved to report that there hasn't been one of those since the lift-use was barred: I'm hoping there won't be until after my team has moved down to the first floor. But back to the main story.)

There was a fire drill a few weeks ago. My colleague and I had been informed of the drill in advance, and had confirmed that we wouldn't be taking part, thank you. As had quite a few other slowly crips in various corners of the building.

(And, if you think not going out during a fire drill is a soft option, then you've never sat through nine minutes of deafening, head-exploding, all-encompassing fire alarm.)

A report on how the fire drill went was circulated last week, and made it as far as yrs truly by last Friday. One read of the offending object was sufficient to raise my blood pressure to dangerous levels. I shut the email down carefully until such time as I might have calmed down enough to put together a coherent response.

Wherein did it offend me? Right at the very end. After all the observations about the number of people who were spotted going back to their desks for their coats/handbags/cups of coffee, and those who were discovered, on re-entry, not to have had their building passes with them that day, was this little gem:-


"As the drill did not test the evacuation of people with serious mobility problems, a concern was raised that had these people been included, the evacuation time would have been much longer."


Well, that's me told, then, isn't it? Somebody is labouring under the common delusion that there's a time limit on evacuating the building completely, and what am I doing? Interfering with some jobsworth's ambition to meet this mythical deadline, apparently.

Blimey. How selfish am I?

As punishment for this insupportable determination to scupper the best laid plans of mice and men, I should clearly, at this point, volunteer to stay in the building and burn to death. It would be the least I could do, after causing "a concern". That or get myself all better - because my impairments are probably all in the mind anyway - so that I can scamper downstairs efficiently and help this numpty win his building-emptying Guinness World Record bid.


Seriously, though, in what bizarre, alternate universe is the fact that the safe evacuation of disabled people is going to increase the overall length of time it take to fully evacuate a particular office building something to be concerned about? By whose scheme of logic is this a problem? Who can't sleep at night for worrying that, although there are plans to get "these people" out safely, "these people" still can't move as quickly as "normal people"? Who - and let's stop messing around, here - hasn't actually understood what his employer's H&S responsibilities are as regards emergency evacuations?


I was lucky enough to have a good teacher about this subject way back when I first needed a PEP. He has long since retired, naturally, so can't be wheeled in to beat some sense into The Man With A Concern. But here is what I learned.

The purpose of an emergency evacuation is to get everybody away from danger as quickly as possible. You expedite this by getting everybody who can get out quickly under their own steam out first. In the meantime, those who can't move as quickly are making their way, with their "buddies", towards fire refuges. Fire refuges have a considerably greater level of fire resistance than the more open plan areas of the building.

Each of the slowly crips has a carefully-agreed, detailed plan of where and when they will go next, and under what specific circumstances. That plan incorporates the way in which their status will be communicated to the Incident Control Officer (ICO). My own plan isn't nearly as complicated as some. It doesn't involve teams of Evac Chair handlers, or me moving through various compartments of the building as successive refuges start to become unsafe. It involves me setting off down the (fire-protected) stairs once it's safe for me to do so, and making my way down them at a speed which is manageable for me. Various members of my team are responsible either for staying with me to make sure nothing unforeseen happens, or letting the ICO know I've begun my descent.

This means that, when the first fire engine arrives, and the senior fire officer asks the ICO whether everyone is safe, the ICO can honestly reply that all those who don't need a PEP are already out, and that the location and progress of all the slowly crips is known, and that none of them is in danger. At which point, said senior fire officer will direct his staff to saving the building.

If, on the other hand, the first fire engine arrives, the senior officer asks the ICO whether everyone is safe, and the ICO replies that most people are, but he or she has a vague suspicion that about a dozen slowly crips probably couldn't keep up with the mandatory deadline for getting out, so no-one knows where they are, the fire officer will direct his staff to put on breathing apparatus and sweep the building in search of the people. And, if that means the building burns to the ground, then so be it. Because the Fire Service - unlike, apparently, at least one of my colleagues - values human life more highly than inanimate buildings. Yes, even the life of someone, like me, who can't walk very quickly.




The Enraged Editor

Labels:

27 Comments:

Blogger narrator said...

I'm sorry, can't leave the building fast enough, maybe we shouldn't let you in at all...

In what universe indeed. Unfortunately, it is ours.

http://is.gd/vOQYIra Socol

12:04 pm  
Blogger Wheelie Catholic said...

Years ago, a group of wheelchair tennis friends and I were caught in a hotel in Philadelphia in a fire. They switched off the elevator and there were about seven of us in wheelchairs with various disabilities left. A few could have climbed down the steps, but stayed with those who couldn't. Everyone else evacuated. Smoke started to fill the hallways and no firemen came, but yes eventually they did come up to tell us they got the fire out.

Your post is a stark reminder of how evacuation plans (and emergency preparedness plans) for pwd are lacking. OTOH firemen are great.

1:21 pm  
OpenID angelikitten said...

"As the drill did not test the evacuation of people with serious mobility problems, a concern was raised that had these people been included, the evacuation time would have been much longer."I get that time can be an issue in these things (especially if we follow the logic of the longer a fire burns, the more dangerous it can get), but surely anyone with an ounce of common sense can tell that it's more important for people to get out safely rather than quickly.

1:29 pm  
Blogger seahorse said...

And the winner for best post title goes to...

1:30 pm  
Blogger liberalandproud said...

Absolutely unconscionable behavior by the numpty. Hope this is straightened out soon. Also that your move to the first floor is expedited.

3:24 pm  
Blogger Never That Easy said...

Back when I was in college, I had a similar experience with fire procedures --> there were no plans made for my evacuation, so during our first fire drill 3 friends stayed behind and helped me to hobble down the stairs. I was bedbound for weeks afterword, and the residence director (who had been walking BEHIND me down the stairs) informed me that I was not required to leave at all: that they would've sent the firemen to my room. That information would've been beneficial BEFORE I climbed down 4 flights of stairs, weak and in pain, I think.

It's just another in the list of things that I never thought I'd have to think about, and now I have to pay extra attention to. ALso? You should send this post to the HR person, let them see how stupid they're being.

6:20 pm  
Anonymous SphinxQueen said...

I used to work on the sixth floor of a 30-storey+ building. This was okay, so long as the lifts were available, though I have some mobility problems even when uninjured. Come the fire drill when I was struggling into work, be-sticked, with a pre-operative smashed-up-and-infected-ankle all strapped up in a monstrous brace, I was left on the stairs by my unofficial "helpers" (no provision of any official ones) because I was too slow (and, I'm sure, partly because of the press of people from the 20-odd floors above who continued to stream past me and (ahem) encouraged me to get out of their way). There was no option of not going out at the same time as everyone else - the "challenge" I presented hadn't even occurred to the powers that be.

This was the same place (and same injury) that I was berated by my managers for wearing trainers when the top brass came a-visiting. Yeah, people who have just scraped the end off their tibia, as well as having permanent joint conditions, walk great in heels.... Apparently, the presence of the walking stick hadn't been much of a clue.

On the other hand, one day I (again, with that same injury) arrived at work to find they'd just started another drill, so I just hauled myself round to the evacuation point and waited for them to catch up with me for once. Sometimes it's the late bird who catches the worm.

And friends?! Ha! There was the friend who borrowed my stick to perform an impromptu Fred Astaire routine at the end of a long, dull week at work. Genuinely hilarious for the first 30 seconds I was standing there on one leg (unable to walk as far as a chair, unaided), less funny when she went off to chat to someone still fiddling with my stick, and I end up yelling across the room that my stick isn't for cosmetic purposes and I'd like to go back to my desk now for a sit-down. Did I say it had been a loooong week?

Sorry for the rant, but I think what annoys me most is the sheer lack of imagination on the part of others that we've all suffered from.

This does raise the question, though, that whilst organisations and individuals may, eventually (pleeeeeeeeze), get their heads around the idea of making appropriate arrangements for the safety and well-being of people with permanent (or at least long-term) impairments, do any actually have arrangements to identify and cope with the needs of people who have temporary impairments as well? They can still hurt like hell, restrict mobility and be exacerbated.

12:58 am  
Blogger Helen said...

Oh good goddess, thankyou so much for this post.

8:32 am  
Blogger marmiteboy said...

Don't get me started....

1:56 pm  
Anonymous Gary Miller said...

Absolutely, positively the best post I've read so far in BADD 2009. (Mind you, it's already Saturday night here and I'm trying to get through every one. It brilliantly and honestly demonstrates the sheer ignorance and stupidity that still abounds in the minds of some jelly-brained individuals.

Once, while a member of and disaster fire and rescue team in the Royal Air Force (the Forces love their acronyms, so we were FARTs) we held an exercise drill.

We were told that a bomb had hit a building. In that building were some survivors. In one room there was a very high ranking officer who was a tactical genius. In another room there were 3 assorted 'other personnel' and 2 civilian workers. Both rooms were blocked from the outside and the occupants couldn't get out themselves.

The catch was, our team only had the time to clear the debris from one room and evacuate the occupant/occupants before the building collapsed. There was no need for discussion as we all, as per our training, indicated that room we would choose would be the one with more people in it. One officer was aghast at our decision.

Our commander reminded him that for us, saving the maximum number of human lives was the only thing that mattered. Sorry about the rant but, a truly great post.

10:39 pm  
Blogger David said...

It's true we can be overlooked in times of emergency.

11:11 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Apologies.

Not only am I not as good at keeping up with blog posts as I used to be, I also seem to have lost the capacity to reply in a timeous fashion to the comments on such scant few posts as I have written.

But thank you to all who have commented. And, indeed, to those who have read but not commented.

Marmite Boy: you are my vice-chair. It's my job to get you started!

Sphinx Queen: the fate of those with temporary mobility problems is something I worry about quite a lot. We were consulted on the employer's emergency evacuation guidance last year, and I was at great pains to devise and insert content relating to people who aren't covered by the DDA, but who might as well be on the day fire happens to break out.

Unfortunately, in an organisation the size of the one I work in, having the relevant paragraph in the guidance on the intranet doesn't mean anyone will be aware of it, or will give a second thought to evacuation issues when a member of their staff turns up one day on crutches. And I have yet to come up with a way round that. Any and all suggestions received with open arms.

Gary Miller: Thank you. Clearly, we are are kindred souls. I shall be using your FART - pardon me while I snigger - drill example in perpetuity :-)

11:16 am  
OpenID beclever said...

Great entry, Lady.

I marked BADD on my calendar with alarms starting two weeks ago, and here I am a few days past and still working on an entry.

Your entry got me thinking... (A little more grateful that I do not work in an office and most stairwells in our area are not enclosed..then again have to prep for hurricane and tornado season)...Have to do a practice drill with kiddo though- his response to loud noises (including fire alarms) is to hide or freeze completely, which would not be the best move in an actual fire....


I think SphinxQueen is on to something with:

"I think what annoys me most is the sheer lack of imagination on the part of others that we've all suffered from."

I think she may have really hit the nail on the head with that comment.

(and I also believe is that lack of imagination- or exercising it- is what not only makes general, day to day, more difficult and infuriating but also is why contagious illnesses spread so much- a sick person can't imagine that their immune-compromised co-worker or their children could die from "the sniffles" so they come to work and pass it on...Grrrrrrrr)

gentle hugs,
xo
bek

7:05 pm  
Blogger imfunnytoo said...

Getting to other BADD postings late:

To sound very American: Holy Crap!

Is there some department that should be labled "Letters for Useless Lifts, Useless Planners, and their Useless Plans?

If not, this fits.

7:56 pm  
Anonymous Gary Miller said...

Just been thinking...at my age I suppose I'm now just an old FART...?

9:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do understand that the elevators are designed to park themselves and go dead, in the event of fire don't you? It is a legal requirement in almost all North American and European jurisdictions. Engineers, like me, have to abide by this.

It is so, because if they didn't come to a halt, you might get in, and they would stop at the fire floor due to a short circuit, the doors would open, and you would get sauteed. Not nice.

We can't put you in the elevators, and we can't get you down the stairs. So this is what gave rise to the strategy of "Defend in Place", and the buddy system of emotional blackmail.

What the feck else do you expect us to do?

You have taken a decision to engage with the normal life around you. Good for you. Now take the risk.

I have every expectation that this comment will be moderated to oblivion.

Wally.

12:52 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

What, moderate to oblivion a comment which so deftly demonstrates the attitudes which Blogging Against Disablism Day is designed to identify? Deny my readers the opportunity of goggling in horror? I should cocoa!

It may surprise you to learn that, whilst my body is infirm, my intellect is most assuredly not, and that I am therefore well aware not only of what the majority of lifts do once the fire alarm is activated but of why they do it.

The "fire lifts" in the building in which I am employed have a manual override system, which is the reason they were used for years to collect mobility-impaired people from the higher floors.

My concern is that we are now told that this was never safe, rather than that this facility has now been withdrawn.

Thank you, but I do not need you to "get me down the stairs". I am quite capable of getting down the stairs myself. I just can't do it as quickly as my non-disabled colleagues can.

By "buddy system of emotional blackmail", I can only assume you are labouring under the delusion that disabled people both knowingly and willingly put their colleagues at risk in order that they can be "helped" out of the building. How insulting. I would no more work in a building in which my colleagues' lives would be put at risk by their acting as my buddies during a fire evacuation than I would in a building in which my own life would be put at risk by my exiting that building rather more slowly than everybody else. Oh, but wait: if one of those criteria applies, then they both do.

"You have taken a decision to engage with the normal life around you" is one of the most breathtakingly-discriminatory comments I have encountered in ten year of disability equality activism. You may expect henceforward to be quoted in training packages and seminars across the UK: that is an absolute gift of a quote to anybody working in the disability rights arena.

It beggars belief that anybody could, in all seriousness, postulate that experiencing an injury would rob somebody else of their "normality". In exactly what way, I wonder, does living with chronic pain render me "abnormal"?

Would you blunder onto the blog a black person, or a gay person, and say something equally crass?


"Now take the risk." Possibly my blog entry was too long for you. Perhaps the sentence-structure was confusing. Or maybe it's a problem in translation between British English and American English. Whatever, you seem to have missed the point which I was at pains to make which is that a properly-planned and executed evacuation of a building puts its disabled occupants at no greater risk than its non-disabled ones.

Oh, and speaking of the difference between British and US English, are you aware what wally means over here...?

8:47 am  
Anonymous SphinxQueen said...

Yep, Editor and Wally, the lifts in my (former) really very tall building had manual overrides too. I was told by building management that it was to allow fire crews to lift heavy equipment to the necessary floors (or at least a lot closer).

And harking back to my earlier spouting, regarding, inter alia, the temporarily impaired employee, what about....visitors? My former employer had a chap who walked with crutches and often used a powered wheelchair. And his job required him to visit offices all over the place. All you need is an extra column in the sign-in book, surely, to have the necessary people made aware that there's someone additional on the premises who needs assistance. It would help raise general awareness, too, keeping the "issue" nearer the forefront of people's minds.

Or is that just too easy?

11:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oh, and speaking of the difference between British and US English, are you aware what wally means over here...?"

I am "over here" and always have been. I'm English, my baptismal name is Walter, and to my friends, I'm Wally.

I agree with the Wheelie Catholic, fire fighters are indeed great. I happen to think that their lives are as important as ours, and their safety and welfare should not be jeopardised in any casual manner.

Every stairwell, every elevator shaft, is a chimney when it catches fire. Most of the buildings you are going into, will not be compliant with the latest code. They don't have to be. The codes are not retrospective. Many of the buildings you are going to live and work in are exempt.
Wally

1:01 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

I see, Wally. So, not content with accusing me of deliberately and wilfully endangering the lives of my colleagues, you now accuse me - by implication - of casually jeapordising the lives of firefighters for my own, selfish ends.

Whereas, had you bothered to read my post in detail, you might have grasped that my wrath was entirely directed towards one individual in the Estates Management area who had not fully understood his/our employer's responsibilities under the H&SAW Act for its mobility-impaired staff during emergency evacuations.

Just because the firefighters will sweep the building in search of people whom the ICO cannot be sure are safe does not mean that they should have to. They shouldn't.

The employer is responsible for getting people out safely. All people. Non-disabled staff, mobility-impaired staff, visually-impaired staff, visitors, workmen - you name it. And it's part of my TUS role to a) make sure that my employer - at a national level - has a policy which meets those obligations, and b) make a very big fuss indeed if I discover anyone on any of the local Estates teams who clearly hasn't understood what those responsibilities are.

6:25 am  
Blogger Mary said...

Personally I feel that if I am presumed to have the responsibility to work my arse off every day and be denounced as a lazy scrounger if I don't manage it, just like an able-bodied person my age, despite the fact that my condition makes working more painful, more difficult and more tiring than it would be for an able-bodied person my age...

... and, furthermore, if I am deemed to have the responsibility to pay just as much tax as can be squeezed out of me, the same as a working able-bodied person, from my PAYE to my council tax and VAT...

... then yes, damn straight, I will claim as much right to be saved from a burning building as my able-bodied equivalents.

Do I expect every building to be razed to the ground in some sort of accessibility reformation? No.

But I expect my employer to at least *think* about the accessibility of any building which I have to go inside while meeting my responsibility to go to work, including how to get me out of it safely in an emergency.

I also expect that information to be properly communicated to everybody who might need to know.

I do not expect my life to be put at greater risk than the lives of my able-bodied equivalents just because someone can't be bothered to meet their responsibility to do their job properly and consider the safety of all employees.

9:02 am  
Anonymous JackP said...

Okay, here's my 2p (well, you did ask).

Firstly, re:

"As the drill did not test the evacuation of people with serious mobility problems, a concern was raised that had these people been included, the evacuation time would have been much longer."

I don't think this is necessarily the same as implying that the mobility impaired (a group with which I am currently included owing to a bad knee) are interfering with a mythical deadline. It could just be a bald statement of fact, possibly even in response to someone saying "everyone was out safely within X time".

On the other hand, it could well display a complete ignorance of refuges, PEPs and the way the procedure works. I can't tell which it is from here, not knowing the culture or the rest of the document: you were there, you'll have a better idea than me.

I would presume that an official document, which by the sounds of it this was, ought to have some knowledge of the PEPs and fire refuges*, but I missed the notion that it was an official document the first time I read this post, owing to skim-reading.

*although it might still relevant to say "a concern was raised", if someone did raise a concern, it ought then to be appropriate to spell out what the procedure actually was, in order to educate those people with those concerns, otherwise it just perpetuates the problem...

I'm just suggesting that some people might read the story that way, and not have understood what you were actually complaining about.

Although it appears to me that Wally has
a) misunderstood what you were saying about the lifts
b) is either against the 'defend in place' strategy he mentions or thinks you are against it.
c) has completely missed the point of your post, which was not "oh my gosh, can someone help this poor old crip get out of the building quickly" but was - what I took to be, anyway - "let's have a sensible procedure that ensures everyone is safe either outside the building or in a fire refuge, oh, and while we're on, let's make sure the people in charge of the policy understand how it is supposed to work".

However, I, like everyone else, am feeling that his use of the phrase 'normal life' implies that you either aren't expected to have one, or that you're not normal. Of course you're not bloody normal. You're a blogger. That's not bloody normal.

We all have different skills, abilities, prefences, impairments, beliefs. There is no homogenised "norm" and thank goodness for that. Although I still harbour some doubts about Trekkies, to be honest...

9:34 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Defend In Place is, in my opinion, only suitable for high investment units ( eg Hospital Intensive Care Units) where significant investment has been made on the fabric of the building. (At least I bloody hope it has). Nobody wants to trundle desperately ill patients in their hospital beds into the street.

But the concept has expanded into business and residential premises. Mission creep. Architects want to build up to the stratosphere, and everyone wants to be on the top floor.

Your refuge, is just a designated place. It doesn't have to have its own sprinkler system, or even it's own rising water main. Or generator. Or strengthened floor, walls or ceiling. Or smoke control system.

Staged or partial evacuation is another crock. If there is a fire anywhere in your building, get the hell out. Just get out.

Wally the Fire Suppression Engineer.

2:29 am  
Anonymous DavidG said...

Some gems from my own evacuation planning experiences. The fire warden for our floor sat next to me and was a good friend. She returned from her annual training one year and announced 'Dave, because you're slower on the stairs than everyone else, we need you to wait until last (but for me) so you don't slow anyone down'.

As it happens I was doing that anyway, but there's a difference between volunteering and being volunteered....

So I said 'Well, if you're going to take that position, shouldn't I have a PEP?'

'Oh no,' says she, 'You aren't that disabled.'

Hmm.

Next year she comes back from her training again: 'Dave, you've still got to go last but for me, but once I've completed checking the floor is empty I'm allowed to pass you on the stairs to go and report that the building is empty'

Slight logical problem there....

12:47 pm  
Blogger marmiteboy said...

I don't really wish to start a flame war (no pun intended) but I have just read some of the nonsense that Wally has written here. Well it would be nonsense if it wasn't so offensive.

How dare he say that as a disabled person "I have chosen to engage in the normal life around me". What the f**k is that all about eh?

Sorry Wally (no actually I take that back I am NOT sorry at all) I have a BIG problem with people calling disabled people abnormal (which you do by implication). What is wrong with me as a disabled person wanting to work in a safe environment, use shops, the cinema, visit the theatre etc etc and all the other 'normal' activities in this inaccessible world. There is no such thing as normal and even if their was I'd have no wish to be it!!

Lady B's post (which you seemed to deliberately misinterpret) showed exactly what it like as a disabled person in the work place if there were to be an emergency. We are treated as second class citizen and as an inconvience. Employers DO have a duty of care to ALL their employees (yes even the ones who dare to leave their houses dragging their crippled and twisted bodies out into the world where they can scare children and frighten horses).

No firefighter should be put at risk. LB never indicated ever that this should ever happen. What she did say was that employers should get their sorry discriminatory backsides in gear and have an evacuation plan that made going to work safe for everyone in their employ.

8:50 pm  
Anonymous elle said...

Wow. I just had one of those moments where a revelation makes you see everything around you differently.

I used to work on the fourth floor, among a small team of 10. None of use had impaired mobility and it never occurred to me that evacuating a building could be a problem if anyone did.

Now I keep imagining different scenarios and solutions.

I live on the 29th floor of a block in Singapore, and have been impressed by how wheelchair accessible every part of my condo, and indeed this country, is (Singaporeans hate stairs and elevators - every new build, even if it's only two stories high - has a lift).

But I've never thought about those lifts breaking down, or access being blocked for some other reason. Every floor of my building has a bomb shelter, but I have no idea whether the lifts can be over-ridden, or indeed, how one would attempt to do so. Climbing 29 flights of stairs could get pretty Herculean (I at least assume they're fire proof, given they say Fire Exit on them in big letters, and have been painted with alarming yellow and black chevrons.)

Anyway, hi. Thanks for a great post (even though I'm five months late to the party), and something to think over. Came here from the Goldfish.

4:29 am  
Blogger Sidarius Koraelin said...

Like the comment-maer above me, I have to say thank you for an extremely enlightening post. I was surprised when my friend recently started telling me about the problem of disablism. It just hadn't occurred to me that people could be so stupid and insensitive when it comes to the requirements of their fellow human beings.

I hope you sorted out the numpty sending the email. xxx

7:35 pm  

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