Building Evacuation for Individuals with Disabilities

  • Persons with disabilities who are able to exit a building during a fire or emergency should do so.  Those who cannot exit a building safely should go to the nearest exit or preferred area of rescue to await the arrival of emergency personnel, police, or fire department.
  • Familiarize yourself with the posted evacuation plan for your housing facility, classroom buildings, cafeteria, student center, library and other campus buildings.
  • Individuals are encouraged to locate fire exits, doors, stairs and fire extinguishers when you enter buildings for the first time.
  • Individuals should, while in the library, laboratory areas, etc. for extended periods of time, let someone know where you will be and approximately how long you plan to be there.
  • When fire alarms sound or flash, exit the building immediately or go to the area of rescue assistance, if one is designated/posted for the building.
  • Proceed to a safe place away from the incident, in a room with an exterior window and/or near stairs.
  • Should people not be able to use stairs or exit the building without assistance, a staff person or a student should assist persons with disabilities in getting to a safe place.
    • Go to a room with a telephone, if at all possible.
    • Note the room number.
    • Close the door.
    • Call 911. A dispatcher in will verify the room number.
    • If there is not a telephone, close the door and go to the exterior window.
  • Individuals with visual impairments should follow regular evacuation procedures. Those who are not thoroughly familiar with the immediate surroundings should ask another person for guidance to the nearest emergency exit. The person providing assistance should guide the individual as they walk, describe the pathway and any obstacles, and orient them to the surroundings when they have reached a safe place.
  • Individuals with hearing impairments may not readily perceive emergency alarms. They could receive emergency communication through a written note stating the emergency and directions to the nearest emergency exit, or by another person flashing the light switch on/off to gain the individual’s attention and indicating by gestures or in writing the nature of the emergency and how to proceed.
  • Individuals with mobility impairments who are on the ground floor may be able to exit unassisted. Needs and preferences of a person who is non-ambulatory may vary.
  • Note: Lifting or transporting by untrained emergency personnel should be considered only in cases of extreme emergency.
  • Service animals should be remain with their owner at all times, including during any evacuation.