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2004 ADA Requirements for Emergency Evacuation Planning for people with disabilities--Maryland Decision


A Maryland court on December 28, 2004, declared that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires places of public accommodation to consider the needs of people with disabilities in developing emergency evacuation plans. This groundbreaking decision means that shopping malls, stores, restaurants, movie theaters, museums, and other private entities subject to the ADA throughout the United States, whether landlords or tenants, must now seek to accommodate people with disabilities in the development and modification of emergency evacuation procedures.

The courtís significant decision arises out of a lawsuit that was filed in Spring 2003 by Katie Savage, a Washington, D.C. resident who became trapped in a retail store during an emergency evacuation in a local shopping mall that had no accessible exits for persons with disabilities. All the employees left the mall without assisting Katie, who is a wheelchair user, and the elevators were shut down. The Opinion of the Court also was significant for refusing to allow a tenant to abdicate its responsibility to patrons with disabilities by merely placing them outside a storeís entrance in an emergency evacuation situation and leaving actual evacuation to a shopping mallís owners.

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Web Links

Read a description of the case from New Jersey's Consumer Advisory Council the Disabled

Read a description of the case from EAD Associates, a consulting group on inclusive emergency management

Read an article about the case from The Washington Post

Read an article about the case from FOX News

This information was found at www.qualitymall.org