Clearing Our Path

Creating accessible environments ­for people with vision loss

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Emergency & Safety

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Emergency Exits and Safety

Provincial and national building and fire codes don’t fully respond to the needs of people with vision loss in terms of emergency systems for the built environment. In general, they don’t address how to effectively alert people who are deafblind to an emergency situation or how to safely assist people with vision loss out of a building in an emergency. This section discusses both of these concerns.

Tactile Walking Surface Indicator.
A close-up photograph of a detectable warning surface. The surface incorporate truncated domes to provide tactile warning information and is colour-contrasted with the adjacent ground finish to provide visual warning.

Keep in mind that building design and construction are only part of the answer in terms of meeting the needs of people with vision loss in emergency planning. Staff training programs and maintenance schedules also play a critical role.

Further information on elements that are common to both exterior and interior environments is provided in Exteriors and Interiors.

The technical requirements within this section are derived from a number of sources including the National Building Code of Canada, CAN/CSA B651 Accessible design for the built environment, ISO/FDIS 21542 Building Construction – Accessibility and usability of the built environment and ISO 23599 – Assistive products for blind and vision-impaired persons – Tactile walking surface indicators. Please refer to these documents for more complete technical requirements.

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