T. 8-19-93 Control No.


AUG 30 1993

The Honorable Olympia T. Snowe U.S. House of Representatives 2268 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-1902 Dear Congresswoman Snowe: This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, Mary Lou Fenno, concerning emergency evacuation standards and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities having rights or obligations under the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist your constituent in understanding the ADA's requirements. However, it does not constitute a legal interpretation or legal advice and it is not binding on the Department of Justice. Your constituent states that she is concerned that the ADA does not properly balance safety concerns with individual rights to access. Ms. Fenno is particularly concerned with the application of the ADA to multi-story facilities. The ADA was not designed as a substitute for local, state, or federal safety regulations and it does not address evacuation procedures specifically. The ADA requires that newly constructed buildings provide the same number of accessible means of egress as is required by local building codes and/or life safety regulations. See section 4.1.3(9) of the Standards for Accessible Design ("the Standards"), in the enclosed title III regulation, at page 35614. New buildings that do not have supervised automatic sprinkler systems also are required to provide areas of rescue assistance on each level that does not have an accessible exit. Such areas of rescue assistance must be provided in a smoke-proof and fire resistant enclosure. For more

information on the requirements for areas of rescue assistance, see sections 4.1.3(9) and 4.3.11 of the Standards, at pages 35614 and 35626. cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, Perley, McDowney, FOIA, Friedlander n:\udd\perley\congress\snowe 01-02562

-2Existing facilities are not required to provide areas of rescue assistance. Despite this fact, existing facilities should develop evacuation plans that take into consideration the needs of people with disabilities. Depending on the constraints of the facility, such a plan might utilize trained personnel, evacuation devices, or other means of accommodating those individuals who may need assistance in an emergency situation. Please note that the ADA does not allow businesses to refuse access to an individual because of a concern for that person's safety in case of an emergency. The ADA only permits a place of public accommodation to consider the direct threat to the health and safety of others. For more information on the ADA's definition of a direct threat, see the discussion of section 36.208 of the title III regulation, at pages 35560 and 35595. A copy of the Department's Title III Technical Assistance Manual is also enclosed. I hope this information is helpful to you in responding to your constituent. You may wish to inform Ms. Fenno that further information is available through our Americans with Disabilities Act Information Line at (202) 514-0301. Sincerely,

James P. Turner Acting Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures


OLYMPIA J. SNOWE 2D District Maine Congress of the United States Washington, DC 20515-1902 COMMITTEE DISTRICT OFFICES: FOREIGN AFFAIRS ONE CUMBERLAND PLACE BUDGET COMMITTEE SUITE 306 BANGOR, ME 04401-5000 WASHINGTON OFFICE (207) 945-0432 2268 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON, DC 20515-1902 TWO GREAT FALLS PLAZA (202) 225-6306 SUITE 7B AUBURN, ME 04210-5813 (207)786-2451 169 ACADEMY ST. PRESQUE ISLE, ME 047769-3166 (207) 764-5124 July 15, 1993 Tom Reinehardt, Director Congressional Relations U.S. Department of Justice Main Justice Building, Room 1603

Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues NW Washington, D.C. 20530 Dear Mr. Reinehardt: Enclosed please find a copy of the letter I received from Mary Lou Fenno of Ellsworth, Maine. Ms. Fenno's letter expresses concern with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its lack of balance between access to public accommodations and the related safety issues. As your Department has jurisdiction over Title III, I would appreciate your assistance in responding to Ms. Fenno's concerns. Thank you for your attention to this issue. Sincerely, OLYMPIA J. SNOWE Member of Congress 2nd District, Maine OJS:jc Enclosure IN MAINE. CALL TOLL-FREE 1-800-432-1599 PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER 01-02564 Colonial Motor Lodge Bar Harbor Road Ellsworth, Maine 04605 June 28, 1993 RECEIVED JUL 01 1993 Representative Olympia Snowe 2464 Rayburn Building Washington, DC 20515-1902 Dear Rep. Snowe: The enclosed material is being submitted to several Maine newspapers and to two offices in Washington, DC. The Washington

contacts were suggested by a Mr. Rick Curry, the founder and head of the National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped in New York City. Mr. Curry deals with the problems I have outlined on a daily basis. I am a strong supporter of the ADA. But I speak for many business people in Maine when I say we're between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Most are pro-handicapped and want to do the right thing. But the safety factor is a horrendous problem. Clarification of the safety issue is badly needed. Participation by your office would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Mary Lou Fenno Owner Colonial Motor Lodge MLF/grd