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Appendix F Life Safety Code

A PROCEDURE FOR DETERMINING EVACUATION CAPABILITY

This Appendix is not a part of the requirements of this NFPA Code, but is included for information purposes only. The term "shall" in this Appendix is used to indicate that if one chooses to use the Appendix, then, within the system described, the item is mandatory.

Chapter 21 defines three levels of evacuation capabilities of the residents as a group (with staff assistance):

(a) prompt;

(b) slow; and

(c) impractical.

Chapter 21 also prescribes the fire safety protection requirements for each level of evacuation capability. This Appendix describes a method for determining evacuation capability.

Separate subsystems are provided for:

(a) Rating the evacuation capabilities of individual residents. (Step 1)

(b) Computing the relative level of evacuation difficulty faced by the occupants of a given facility. This includes rating the Promptness of Response for the staff, introducing an adjustment for number of floors, and calculating an Evacuation Difficulty Score.  Subsection 21-1.3 defines three evacuation capabilities levels in terms of evacuation difficulty scores.

Procedure for Determining Evacuation Capability

STEP 1 - For each resident, complete one copy of Worksheet F1, Worksheet for Rating Residents. Follow the instructions on the Worksheet. Use the Instruction Manual for Rating Residents for further guidance and for definitions of terms.

STEP 2 - For each facility complete one copy of Worksheet F-2, Worksheet for Calculating Evacuation Difficulty Score (E-Score). Follow the instructions on the Worksheet. Use the Instruction Manual for Calculating Evacuation Difficulty Score for further guidance and for definitions of terms.

STEP 3 - Determine evacuation difficulty using the E-Score from Step 2 and the criteria of 21-1.3.

Instruction Manual for Rating Residents (Worksheet F-1) base ratings on commonly observed examples of poor performance.

The Evacuation Difficulty Score has been designed to minimize speculation about how residents might perform in an actual fire emergency by basing ratings on already observed performance. Instead of speculating, raters who are not familiar enough with a resident to confidently provide ratings should consult with someone who has observed the resident on a daily basis.

Due to the stress of a real fire emergency, some residents are not likely to perform as well as they are capable of doing. Therefore, ratings based on commonly observed examples of poor performance provide the best readily available indication of behavior that may be degraded due to the unusually stressful conditions of an actual fire. All persons naturally tend to be less capable on some days, and the ratings should be based on examples of resident performance on a typically "bad" day.   Findings should not be based on rare instances of poor performance.

Risk Factors (refer to Worksheet F-1, side 2)

I.    Risk of Resistance - means that there is a reasonable possibility that, during an emergency evacuation, the resident may resist leaving the group home.   Unless there is specific evidence that resistance may occur, the resident should be rated as "minimal risk".

Specific evidence of resistance means that staff have been required to use some physical force in the past. However, an episode of resistance should not be counted if it resulted from a situation that was different enough from a real fire emergency so that the incident probably does not predict behavior in a real fire emergency. For example, an incident when a resident refused to leave his bedroom to visit his parents would probably not predict behavior in a real fire emergency and would not be counted as specific evidence.  Resistance may be active (for example, the resident may have struck a staff member or attempted to run away) or passive (for example, the resident may have "gone limp" or hid from staff members). Mere complaining or arguing is not considered resistance.

(a) Minimal Risk. This means that there is no specific evidence to suggest that the resident may resist an evacuation.

(b) Risk of Mild Resistance. This means that there is specific evidence that the resident may mildly resist leaving the group residence.  Examples of specific evidence that a resident should be rated in this category are as follows:

(1) The resident has mildly resisted instructions from staff. Further, the resistance was brief or easily overcome by one staff member, and occurred in a situation similar enough to a fire emergency to predict that the behavior could recur during a fire emergency, or

(2) The resident has hidden from the staff in a situation similar enough to a fire emergency to predict that the behavior could recur during a real fire emergency. However, once found, the resident offered no further resistance.

(c) Risk of Strong Resistance. This means that the resident may offer resistance that requires the full attention of one or more staff members.  Examples of specific evidence that suggest that a resident should be rated in this category are as follows:

(1) The resident has struggled vigorously in a situation similar enough to a fire emergency to predict that the behavior could recur during a fire emergency, or

(2) The resident has totally refused to cooperate in a situation that is similar enough to a fire emergency to predict that the behavior could recur during a real fire emergency, or

(3) The resident has hidden in a situation that is similar enough to a fire emergency to predict that the behavior could recur during a real fire emergency. Moreover, once found, the resident continued to offer resistance.

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