According to FEMA, each year approximately 17,500 people are injured and 3,400 die because of fire.1 There are dangers associated with fire for everyone, but people with disabilities face unique challenges in these emergencies. As FEMA notes, people with disabilities may have more difficulty escaping during a fire. In addition, some disabilities may prevent them from taking actions ahead of time without the help of a caregiver, friend or relative.2
Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.