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Faculty Handbook

Appendix B: Evacuation Procedures


For Persons with Disabilities

The following guidelines should be considered when assisting persons with disabilities in an evacuation. Emergency coordinators and volunteers should familiarize themselves with these procedures.

First, communicate the nature of the emergency to the person. Second, ask the person how they would like to be assisted. Third, evacuate mobility equipment with the person if possible.

Keep the following information in mind when assisting persons with:

  1. Visual Impairments
    • Tell the person the nature of the emergency and offer to guide him/her to the nearest emergency exit. Have the person take your elbow and escort him/her advising of any obstacles such as stairs, narrow passageways or overhanging objects. When you have reached safety, orient the person to where he/ she is and ask if further assistance is needed.
  2. Hearing Impairments
    • Most buildings are not equipped with flashing light alarms, and persons with impaired hearing may not perceive that an emergency exists. Communicate with the person by writing a note or through simple hand gestures.
  3. Persons Using Crutches, Canes or Walkers
    • Ask the person what method of assistance they prefer. Check for the availability of an evacuation chair and always evacuate mobility equipment with the person if possible.
  4. Persons Using Wheelchairs
    • Ask the person the method of assistance they prefer. Some people have minimal ability to move and lifting them may be dangerous to their well being. Some persons using wheelchairs have respiratory complications; remove them from smoke or fumes immediately. If the person wants to be moved in their wheelchair, keep the following considerations in mind:
      • Wheelchairs have many moveable or weak parts.
      • Some people have no upper trunk or neck strength.
      • Power wheelchairs have heavy batteries, an evacuation chair may be needed and the wheelchair retrieved later.
      • If a seat belt is available, use it.

If the person prefers to be removed from their wheelchair for evacuation, ask their preference on the following:

  • The preferred way of being removed from the wheelchair
  • Whether or not to move extremities
  • Move forward or backward down stairs
  • Whether a seat cushion or pad should be brought along
  • What is necessary for after-care

Wheelchairs and mobility aids should be retrieved as soon as possible. The location of wheelchairs and mobility aids should be noted so that they may be retrieved as soon as possible.

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