Accessibility of emergency evacuation of persons with disabilities in public swimming pools in Barcelona, Spain: a review of literature and regulations
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Over the past four decades, many actions to promote access to and use of buildings by persons with disabilities have been effective. Different criteria, parameters, research and regulations have evolved in this area, enhancing the personal autonomy of the users of buildings. However, important deficiencies persist regarding accessibility in cases of emergency evacuation, especially in public buildings or in those that host special events. Consequently, the evacuation of users with disabilities is mainly dependent on the availability of technical aid and support elements (usually ‘special wheelchairs’). This paper presents research in this field with regard to public buildings in Spain. In particular, it aims to serve as a baseline for studying the accessibility of emergency exits in sport facilities (specifically in competition swimming pools). A review of the scientific literature and existing regulations allowed for the identification of the parameters to be incorporated into the present fire protection and accessibility regulations. It must be said that no specific regulations were found regarding the emergency evacuation of sport facilities, in general, or swimming pools, in particular. The research revealed that there is no synergy between fire protection regulations and the content of scientific publications in regard to the evacuation of persons with disabilities. It also verified that the regulations do not consider the possibility of disabled persons being able to evacuate buildings on their own in emergency situations, thus in this manner, limiting their personal autonomy. To improve this situation, the key aspects for developing solutions that would allow disabled users to evacuate buildings in emergency situations by their own means are identified, and suitable systems that could be adequate for this purpose are proposed. The key to achieving better conditions for the evacuation of persons with disabilities involves the incorporation of improvements in warning and alarm signals, in the signposting of the accessible routes to the exits, and the adoption of solutions that enable persons with disabilities to move in an autonomous manner in regard to the evacuation routes.
CitationRovira-Beleta, E., Cuerva, E., Planas, C., Alavedra, P. Accessibility of emergency evacuation of persons with disabilities in public swimming pools in Barcelona, Spain: a review of literature and regulations. "Architectural engineering and design management", 2015.
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