Evacuation Plan for Persons with Disabilities | Webster University

Evacuation Plan for Persons with Disabilities


Emergency personnel are usually available to assist with any evacuation. However, this may not always be the case. It may not be possible to know the exact locations of all disabled students, staff and visitors to the University at a given time. Those with mobility concerns or other concerns that would make an independent evacuation difficult are encouraged to discuss alternate plans and arrangements with their instructors and/or supervisors in advance. This will increase the likelihood that individuals will be able to exit the building safely in the event of an emergency.

Pre-Planning (Students)

Notify the instructor and/or supervisor of your capabilities and what type of assistance you will need in the event that an emergency situation arises and evacuation is necessary. Become familiar with your area by locating exits, stairwells, elevators, fire-fighting equipment, fire alarms and telephones. Establish areas of refuge if you are unable to get out of the building.

During an Emergency (Students)

If on the first floor, immediately leave the building, with or without assistance, via the closest available exit or pre-designated exit route posted in the classroom or area you are in. Use pre-designated volunteers for assistance, if available. Persons in wheelchairs should use the elevator as a first choice, except in the case of fire, earthquake or tornado.

If unable to leave the building, call Public Safety and give location and type of assistance needed.

If unable to leave a room/building due to fire, or because of smoke in the hallway, alert someone by waving a light colored cloth or blowing a whistle.

In an earthquake, stay where you are and take cover, avoiding windows. In a tornado or severe weather, proceed to designated safe area. Advise person assisting you the best way to transport you.

Pre-Planning (Faculty/Staff)

Faculty should make an announcement at the beginning of class each semester to advise students of the procedures to take in an emergency situation and to discuss accommodation needs with disabled students. Faculty should assist the student in arranging for volunteers who are willing to assist the disabled student.

Faculty need to be familiar with all exits, ramps, stairwells, emergency telephones and elevators in the buildings that they occupy. Attend training.

During an Emergency (Faculty/Staff)

Persons using a wheelchair

First floor: Persons using wheel chairs, with the assistance of a pre-designated co-worker faculty member or student will proceed out of the building via the nearest exit or pre-designated evacuation route.

Second floor or higher: Persons using wheelchairs, with the assistance of a pre-designated co-worker, faculty member or student, will proceed to the stairwell. Once the stairwell clears and the disabled person can be navigated safely down the stairs, with or without assistance, they may proceed. If this is not feasible, a member of the staff, faculty or student in the class will be instructed by the staff or faculty member to notify emergency personnel outside the building.

No student under any circumstances is to be left alone.

Persons with visual impairments

Tell the person the nature of the emergency and offer to guide him/her. As you walk, tell the person where you are and advise of any obstacles. Offer your arm as guidance. Do not grasp his/her arm.

Persons with hearing impairments

Write a note telling what the emergency is and the nearest evacuation route/safe area. Tap the person on the shoulder or turn the light switch on and off to gain attention. Then indicate through gestures or in writing what is happening and what to do. Escort the person.

Do not use this if you smell gas in the air.

Persons using crutches, canes, or walkers

If the person is having difficulty exiting quickly, treat him/her as if injured for evacuation purposes. Carrying options include two-person, lock arm position or having the person sit in a chair with arms.

Non-ambulatory persons

The needs and preferences of non-ambulatory persons will vary. Most will be able to exit safely without assistance on the ground floor. Always consult the person as to his/her preference with regard to:

  1. Ways of being removed from a wheelchair.
  2. The number of people necessary for assistance.
  3. Whether moving extremities is painful.
  4. Whether a seat cushion should be brought along if removed from the chair.
  5. Whether he or she should be carried forward or backward on a flight of stairs.

All emergency situations, while not all the same, may require that people evacuate to a specific location. This manual identifies two types of evacuation procedures to follow in the event of a catastrophe.

Evacuation to safe areas

Certain emergency situations may require personnel to evacuate to a safe area within a building. These are areas that students, staff and visitors to the campus should take shelter in when circumstances dictate that evacuation outside the building/area is not advisable. These situations include, but are not limited to, tornadoes, severe weather and chemical attack .Routes and locations to pre-designated safe areas are posted in each classroom, laboratory, office complex and work area on campus on an 8”x 11” laminated map. Safe areas have been identified in blue in all buildings and structures on campus. Students, staff and visitors that frequent areas on campus should take a couple of minutes to review these maps in the event of an emergency.

Building Evacuations

Certain situations, however, may require that personnel evacuate a building to a specific location out-side and away from the building. These situations include, but are not limited to; fire, earthquake (after tremors) and gas leak.

Routes and assembly points have been identified in red and are contained within the same map as the designated safe areas. These routes and assembly areas are posted in each classroom, laboratory, office complex and work area on campus. Students, staff and visitors that frequent areas on campus should take a couple of minutes to review these maps in the event of an emergency.

Faculty / Staff Responsibility

Faculty and staff should take a few moments at the beginning of the first class each semester to point out the map locations and to advise the class of where the safe area is, how to evacuate the building and where to assemble.