PEEPS – Fundamentally Flawed & Discriminatory ?

2009-05-13:  The other day, I thought it might be interesting to google ‘PEEPS’.  The surprising results … page after page about the marshmallow candies (in English: sweets) which are sold in Canada and the USA.  I have learned something new !


What I was trying to find, however, was information relating to Personal Emergency Egress PlanS (PEEPS) for building users with disabilities.  PEEPS is widely referenced in British literature … and because certain people (who should know better) believe that the sun, moon and stars rise over London … it has also seeped into the Irish literature by some process of ‘preverted’ osmosis.  Most regrettable !



Yesterday, I discussed the inadequacy of developing Fire Safety Management Procedures … or, in fact, designing buildings … with the sole concern being people with disabilities.


Taking account of all the relevant, and different, types of European and National Legislation … the Rule of Thumb should always be People with Activity Limitations and Accessibility for All.



While fully understanding the need for a catchy acronym … ‘PEEPS’ does not respond well to internet searches on Google.


The next unfortunate feature of Personal Emergency Egress PlanS is the misguided use of Fire Engineering Terminology in English …



Evacuation from a Fire Building

To withdraw, or cause to withdraw, all users from a fire building in planned and orderly phased movements to a Place of Safety remote from the building.



Independent emergence of user(s) from a building, under normal ambient conditions, and removal from its immediate vicinity.



Avoidance of injury or harm which is threatened by imminent danger.



Instrumental Aggression

Aggression which is a means to another end, e.g. pushing someone aside to escape from danger.



Whenever, therefore, the terms ‘evacuation’, ‘egress’ and ‘escape’ are used interchangeably … on the same occasion … and without apparent rhyme or reason … it is time to call a halt to proceedings … and to scream “bullshit – moráns at work” !   Furthermore … the word ‘escape’ should never be used in connection with fire evacuation from a building.  BSI, CEN and ISO … please take careful note !!!



A Personal Emergency Egress Plan (PEEP) is fundamentally flawed and discriminatory because it is …


         person-specific ;  and




Would any able-bodied building user tolerate being told that a document would have to be prepared before he/she could enter and use a building … and that this document would discuss only his/her use of the building … and that use only in specified parts of the building ???   No way !   Are you serious !!   What a joke !!!


The relevant, and different, types of European and Irish National Legislation require that buildings be accessible … covering approach to, entry, use, egress (under normal conditions), evacuation (in the event of a fire emergency) and removal from their immediate vicinity.


Within this legal environment … PEEPS is fundamentally flawed.  And … because building use is limited for specified individuals to specified areas only … PEEPS is also discriminatory.



If there is to be recourse to PEEPS, it should be in very exceptional circumstances only !   And, I can certainly think of one possible situation … existing buildings of historical, architectural and cultural importance … where anything more than moderate interference with the building fabric is both ill-advised and restricted … and everyone’s use of the building must be curtailed to some extent.







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e-Accessibility – Allowing Every Person to Access e-Books ?

2009-04-11:  Globalization is not just an economic concept … it is a social reality in the 21st Century.


The recent legal settlement in the United States of America between the Authors Guild (USA) and Google, announced 2008-10-28, relates to the protection of authors’ rights during the course of Google’s Live Project to digitize every hardcopy book … of any type.  This settlement has consequences far beyond the jurisdiction of the USA.  Beware !


In the middle of all this consternation, and directly linked to many things I have been discussing over the past months … on 8th April 2009, I signed the following Petition …



Petition Target:  The Authors Guild (USA)


Sponsor:  Reading Rights Coalition (USA)


” When Amazon released the Kindle 2 electronic book reader on 9 February 2009, the company announced that the device would read e-books aloud using text-to-speech technology.  Under pressure from the Authors Guild (USA), Amazon announced that it will give authors and publishers the ability to disable the text-to-speech function on any or all of their e-books available for the Kindle 2.


The Reading Rights Coalition (USA), which represents people who cannot read print, is protesting against the threatened removal of the text-to-speech function from e-books for the Amazon Kindle 2.


The Coalition includes organizations which represent the blind, people with dyslexia, people with learning or processing issues, seniors losing vision, people with spinal cord injuries, people recovering from strokes, and many others for whom the addition of text-to-speech on the Kindle 2 promised to facilitate, for the first time, easy mainstream access to thousands and thousands of books.”



I added this Text to my Signature (#3238) …


” This action by the Authors Guild must now be clearly described and understood as a denial of basic human rights for a sizeable sector of the population in all of our societies.  Since 3 May 2008, when it became an International Legal Instrument … the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities specifies, protects and guarantees these basic rights.  It is the stated intention of the Obama Administration that the USA will soon ratify this UN Convention.”




To Sign the Petition:  Go to …







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