Evacuation Strategies for People with Physical Disabilities in High- rise Buildings in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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Abstract This research aimed to review the procedures for evacuating persons with physical disabilities from high-rise buildings in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose percentage according to the latest statistics in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is 4% of the total population. This aim was achieved by collecting data from the Civil Defense in Riyadh and conducting a semi-structured qualitative interview with safety managers in a sample of tall buildings in Riyadh. Eleven high- rise buildings in Riyadh were selected out of the 152 high-rise buildings in the city. The focus of this research was on the impact of management and design on reaching a safe evacuation for the mobility impaired. The mobility impairment classification is not limited to wheelchair users; Includes people who have limited mobility. However, they can use the stairs. It is a complicated exercise, but it is not far-fetched or impossible. When the government, professionals, and building owners get together, it is sure to make a difference for the better. The strategies used to evacuate persons with mobility disabilities varied in high-rise buildings in Riyadh, as seven of the participating buildings adopted the fire elevator as a primary method for evacuating people with disabilities. Moreover, two participants in two buildings approved evacuation chairs as a primary method of evacuating persons with disabilities. In return, it was agreed to allocate a ground floor and the first floor only for people with disabilities, whether as rooms in hotels or offices in administrative buildings. The results of this research helped to reach several recommendations, including what is related to building management, including what is directed to the local authorities. For example, tall buildings departments should cooperate with specialists to rehabilitate some elevators for use as evacuation elevators. Local authorities should hold regional and international workshops to develop mechanisms for the evacuation of people with disabilities. Local authorities should amend the procedures for approving plans to evacuate tall buildings and grant the administrations of these buildings the freedom to decide to conduct periodic drills. The researcher recommended that Saudi universities support ntific research in this field.