T. 12-3-93 DJ 202-PL-00056 DEC 3 Mr. Scott R.

Edwards Director of Marketing Fire Protection Products Gentex Corporation 10985 Chicago Drive Zeeland, Michigan 49464 Dear Mr. Edwards: This letter responds to your correspondence regarding the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the placement of visual alarms. I apologize for our delay in responding to you. The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities with rights or obligations under 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 statute and it is not binding on the Department. Section 4.28.3(6) of the ADA standards for Accessible Design, 28 C.F.R. pt. 36, Appendix A, requires that visual alarm signal appliances in new construction be placed 80 inches above the highest floor level or 6 inches below the ceiling whichever is lower. This location is required because smoke can collect near the ceiling and thereby obscure a signal if the alarm is mounted on the ceiling. The regulation was-developed based on consideration of established data and is supported by the advisory guidance issued by the National Fire Protection Association. In certain situations a stem-pendant ceiling mounted signal appliance might satisfy this requirement appropriately. However, we have not made a determination that. any particular alternative to strict compliance with this section of the Standards would be equivalent facilitation. Determinations of equivalent facilitation must be made on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration whether the building element in question, as installed in a specific site, actually provides equal or greater accessibility. Neither the Department of Justice nor any other entity will certify that a specific

cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, Blizard, FOIA, Friedlander n:\udd\blizard\gentex.eh 01-02766 -2product or design alternative that varies from the technical requirements of the ADA regulation will be "equivalent" in all circumstances. You have also asked if any summary exists of the comment sent to the Department by an organization representing people with hearing impairments. That comment consisted of 479 responses to a two page survey. No tabulation of that survey exists. Because the-responses to the survey were submitted to the Department as a comment on the then-proposed regulation, they are available for public inspection at the office of the Public Access Section. A copy of the survey responses (approximately 1000 pages) may also be requested from the Civil Rights Division's Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Branch.. For your information, I have enclosed a copy of this Department's Title III Technical Assistance Manual and a technical assistance bulletin on visual alarms issued by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers compliance Board. I hope this information is helpful to you in understanding and complying with the ADA. Sincerely,

Janet L. Blizard Supervisory Attorney Enclosures

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