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Westchester School Leaves Behind Disabled Students in Fire Evacuation

It saddens us to read articles like this one about a failed school evacuation, but these situations are all too common. People with disabilities need to be shown the same respect and concern as we do others, not left alone in harm's way because of non-inclusive planning. From the article... "My daughter felt when she came home from school that nothing's gonna happen here at the school until somebody dies, and that's pathetic," Feltenstein said.

This is another reason why Broadened Horizons strives to educate schools, retirement homes, etc about our comfort carriers which can save lives and help effectively evacuate persons with disabilities as quickly and safely as everyone else. Read more: New-Rochelle-High-School-Westchester-Leaves-Wheelchair-Students-Behind-Fire-Evacuation

Before you read the full article, you may have noticed that we briefly mentioned the fact that Broadened Horizons have a product that can easily solve this problem in the future, called the Comfort Carrier. To elaborate, comfort carrier is a transfer solution to move anyone from a wheelchair to any other location securely comfortably. We also have packages available for any multi-story building, areas at risk for flooding, fire, or any other emergency situation. When planning for emergency preparedness, be sure that your plan includes the needs of everyone.

We believe that evacuation plans should always be fully inclusive. An evacuation plan should never have to be identified as "inclusive", it just should be. Read more on our complete evacuation systems and contact us to discuss your building or organizations needs.


A Westchester high school's evacuation procedures are being questioned by the Justice Department after two students who use wheelchairs were left behind during a fire emergency.

The two students were left in a third-floor classroom of New Rochelle High School in January, while the rest of the school evacuated because of a fire near the building.

"Nobody ever came and saw her, nobody checked on her," said Richard Feltenstein, the father of senior Jennifer Feltenstein, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

A formal inquiry by the Justice Department is underway to determine exactly why Feltenstein and another student where left in the school during the evacuation.

In a statement, a spokesman for the New Rochelle School District said their legal counsel was "in the process of responding to the Justice Department inquiry."

Jennifer Feltenstein told NBC 4 New York that the district's plan for dealing with students with disabilities in an emergency involves getting them to so-called safe rooms where EMS crews can find them, but the safe room closest to her during last month's fire required maneuvering down steps.

"We've been asking for the four years for me not to be put on the third floor and they just keep putting me up there," she said.

According to her father, fire crews were never told his daughter was still inside the building and none of the faculty at the school were trained to use special evacuation chairs installed inside.

After speaking with Justice Department officials, Richard Feltenstein said he is hoping for a concrete safety plan that spares anyone from the fear his daughter endured that day.

"My daughter felt when she came home from school that nothing's gonna happen here at the school until somebody dies, and that's pathetic," Feltenstein said. "That's a horrible thing to say."


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