12-18-92 DJ 202-PL-153 JAN 26 1993

Mr. Donald E. Sievers D.E. Sievers & Associates, Ltd. National Association of the Deaf 6309 Bradley Boulevard Bethesda, Maryland 20817-3243 Dear Mr. Sievers: This letter responds to your correspondence expressing concern about a specific product that is being marketed as a way to accommodate persons with hearing impairments as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that are subject to the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the ADA accessibility standards. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a legal interpretation of the application of the statute, and it is not binding on the Department. We appreciate your concern about this product and the material that you forwarded with your letters. However, as Ms. Ruth Hall Lusher of my staff informed you by telephone, we are unable to comply with your request to contact the manufacturer of this product. The Department does not evaluate or rule on the legality of particular products. Further, it is important to point out that requirements contained in section 9.3.1 of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (cited in your letter), like all provisions contained in the Guidelines, apply only to elements that are "built-in" as part of a building or facility. The product that you discuss is a portable device provided as an auxiliary aid and is therefore not covered by section 9.3.1 of the Guidelines. The Department may, however, as part of a complaint investigation, determine that discrimination has occurred because

a portable device provided by a public accommodation is not effective in providing equivalent service to persons with cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, Breen, Lusher, FOIA, Library udd:mercado:policy.letters.certif:lusher.wodatch.sievers 01-01871​ -2disabilities. Although the requirements of the Guidelines do not apply to portable devices provided as auxiliary aids, the Guidelines can provide helpful guidance in determining whether particular devices are as effective as built-in equipment. I hope that the above information is helpful. Sincerely,

John L. Wodatch Chief Public Access Section 01-01872​ D.E. SIEVERS & ASSOCIATES, LTD. Fire Safety Consultants National Association of the Deaf April 17, 1992 Mr. John Wodatch Director, Office on ADA Civil Rights Division Department of Justice 320 First Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001 Dear Mr. Wodatch: Enclosed please find our letter of March 11,1992, addressed to Mr. James Raggio, General Counsel for the ATBCB. During a conversation today, discussing the subject of that letter, he suggested that we contact you, because he considered it a matter for the

Department of Justice. A subsequent conversation with the very knowledgeable, Ms. Ellen Harland, of the Department's staff, concluded with a suggestion of a review of the letter and its enclosure and a determination by you. A false sense of security is generated to both the owner of the place of public accommodation and the deaf patron when safety in accordance with the ADA is expressly implied. The Final Rule prohibits the connection of visual notification with visual alarm appliances. Auxilliary aids not meeting the requirements of the Final Rule or Guidelines, and absent standards, do not comply with the ADA, and provide a false sense of security to people who think they do. In as much as we are very much concerned with effective early warning to deaf persons, the danger of loss of life, and compliance with the ADA, in places of public accommodation, we request that you direct American Phone Products, Inc. to cease and desist communicating, in any way, that their product "Alert-Plus" provides compliance with the ADA. In addition, we request that you further direct American Phone Products, Inc. to contact all places of public accommodation where "Alert-Plus" has been sold, and inform each, in writing, that "Alert-Plus" does not, in fact, provide compliance with the ADA. We respectfully ask that you take immediate action in this matter because of the very real danger of loss of life, as well as noncompliance with the ADA. We would appreciate a copy of your action at your earliest possible convenience. Sincerely, Donald E. Sievers DES: mo cc: Charles Estes, Executive Director, NAD Marc Charmatz, NAD Legal Defense Fund 6309 Bradley Blvd. - Bethesda, MD 20817-3243 - Voice (301) 469-0278 - TDD (301) 469-0524 01-01873​ D.E. SIEVERS & ASSOCIATES, LTD. Fire Safety Consultants

National Association of the Deaf March 11, 1992 Mr. James Raggio General Counsel Architectural & Transportation Barriers Compliance Board 1111 Eighteenth Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036 Dear Mr. Raggio: 36 CFR Part 1191 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities; Final Guidelines Section 9.3.1 and 28 CFR Part 36 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities; Final Rule Section 9.3.1 both state "In sleeping rooms required to comply with this section, auxillary visual alarms shall be provided and comply with 4.28.4. Visual notification devices shall be provided in units, sleeping rooms and suites to alert room occupants of incoming telephone calls and a door knock or bell. Notification devices shall not be connected to auxillary visual alarm signal appliances. ..." Some manufacturers, in attempts to convince members of the lodging industy to purchase products allegedly complying with the ADA Guidelines and Final Rule, needlessly risk the lives of deaf and hard of hearing persons. People who depend on visual alarms warning them of the danger of death or injury due to fire do not have time, in an emergency, to determine which feature of an combination device is activating, if it is correct, and working properly. Such devices threaten the life safety of deaf people who rely upon visual alarms which are duly tested and listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory for the purpose of warning of fire. We have a compelling concern that products combining door knock and telephone notification with visual alarms in one unit violates Section 9.3.1 above. Conversations with members of the ATBCB technical staff concur with our findings and recommended this letter requesting an official ruling from you. Enclosed please find literature describing a product called "Alert-Plus" which expressly implies compliance with the ADA while at same time pictures and describes the combined features of smoke

detector alarm activation with telephone and door knocking notification. We therefore request that you rule whether this device is in compliance with section 9.3.1 of the Guidelines and Final Rule and advise us accordingly. In addition, if you find that the device does not meet the qualifications of the Guidelines and Final Rule, we request that you also notify the manufacturer of your findings and direct the manufacturer to cease and desist communicating that the product enables the transient lodging facility to comply with the ADA. 6309 Bradley Blvd. * Bethesda, MD 20817-3243 * Voice (301) 469-0278 * TDD (301) 469-0524 01-01874​ Mr. James Raggio March 11, 1992 Page 2 We realize that you are faced with many issues dealing with the ADA and its compliance requirements. At the same time, the life safety of deaf people is threatened. We would appreciate your ruling as soon as possible. Sincerely,

Donald E. Sievers DES:mo Enclosure cc: Charles Estes, Executive Director Marc Charmatz, Legal Defense Fund 01-01875​ IS YOUR PROPERTY ADA COMPLIANT?


ALERT-PLUS* provides an EASY, QUICK, SIMPLE and INEXPENSIVE way of accommodating your hearing impaired guests as stipulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act. 01-01876​ (PICTURE) High Intensity strobe light alerts guests Easy to read and back-lighted panel with blinking lights informs guests to cause of activation. Loud audio buzzer with volume and tone control. Your hotel logo here. Room noise indicator assures proper operating room noise environment. Door transmitter easily clipped onto door Sensitive microphone "listens" for the hearing impaired. Easy to read simple operating instructions. Power on indicator. One-touch button resets the unit after activation. Battery back-up (batteries not included) Amplification handset with volume control. (optional)

Powerful bed shaker alerts asleep guests

EASY! No additional wiring or reconstruction is required. QUICK! Just plug it in. All-in-one unit alerts guests with bright

strobe light, bed shaker and loud audio buzzer to: * Smoke detector alarm activation * Telephone ringing * Door knocking * Alarm clock sounding A telephone amplification handset is also included. (optional) SIMPLE! Self-contained in a briefcase for convenient storage and easy assignment during check-in. INEXPENSIVE! Few units will satisfy the ADA requirements for the hearing impaired for your entire property. ALERT-PLUS* makes your guests' stay convenient, secure and much more enjoyable. AMERIPHONE 5192 Balsa Avenue, Suite #5 AMERICAN PHONE PRODUCTS, INC. Huntington Beach, CA 92619 874-3005 *patent pending 01-01877​ D.E. SIEVERS & ASSOCIATES, LTD. Fire Safety for the Hearing Impaired FAX Transmission to: Date: Name (800)

Company/Organization FAX Telephone Number Voice Telephone Number Via Third Party (if necessary) Third Party FAX Number Third Party Voice Number Message to Recipient FAX Operator: Number of Pages of this FAX Transmission (NOT INCLUDING THIS COVER PAGE)

IN CASE OF ANY DIFFICULTY, PLEASE ADVISE SENDER AT: (301) 469-0278 Voice (301) 469-0524 TDD OUR FAX NUMBER IS (301) 469-7541

6309 Bradley Blvd * Bethesda, MD 20817-3243 * Voice (301)469-0278 * TDD(301) 469-0524 01-01878​ D.E. SIEVERS & ASSOCIATES, LTD. Fire Safety for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People November 24,1992 Philip L. Breen, Esquire Special Legal Counsel Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act Civil Rights Division U.S. Department of Justice 320 First Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001 Dear Mr. Breen: On April 17, 1992 we addressed our concerns to Mr. John Wodatch regarding the compelling issue of potential loss of life by deaf and hard of hearing people and Section 9.3.1 of the Final Rule as it relates to the prohibition of linking notification devices with fire alarms. In your letter of May 20, 1992, you assured us of an expeditious response. It has now been six months since your letter arrived. We are enclosing copies of our original correspondance and formally

request a written response, within 10 working days, which would also address the concerns raised below. Recognizing that Section 9.3.1 prohibits the combining of notification devices with visual alarms in new construction and alterations, and the absence of standards for existing buildings and auxillary aids, how can the Department allow the risk to life in existing buildings while prohibiting that risk in new construction and alterations? Does the Department intend to at least protect the hearing impaired public with a requirement that such products be tested and Listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory (such as Underwriters Laboratories) if any feature includes visual warning for fire protection, for those products claiming compliance with the ADA? This is a matter of compelling importance to deaf and hard of hearing people. May we please have your written response as indicated? Very truly yours, Donald E. Sievers DES:mo Enclosures cc: Ms. Nancy Block, Executive Director, NAD Marc Charmatz, Esq., NAD Legal Defense Fund 01-01879