Guidelines for Assisting People with Physical Impairments
During Emergencies Requiring Evacuation

The following are intended to be general guidelines for assisting people with physical impairments during emergencies. In principle, the best scenario is to house and conduct activities on the ground floor of a building that would permit these persons to simply exit without descending stairs.

General Procedures for Assisting Physically-Impaired Persons During Emergencies

  • Identify people that may need assistance (including persons with temporary disability, e.g., a broken leg).
  • Communicate the type of emergency to the person.
  • Ask how you can be of assistance.
  • Evacuate mobility aides with the person (e.g., crutches, wheelchair, seeing-eye dog).
  • Never use an elevator.
  • Evacuate to a stairwell (landing) and advise University Police and the Fire Department upon their arrival.

Special Procedures for Persons with Visual Impairments

  • Announce your presence. Describe the nature of the emergency.
  • Offer assistance, but let the person explain what help is needed.
  • If assisted, let the individual grasp your arm; walk at their pace.
  • If the person has a guide dog, ask for the best way to handle the dog. The dog should evacuate with the owner.
  • After exiting, orient them to where they are.

Special Procedures for Persons with Hearing Impairments

  • Establish eye contact.
  • Use facial expressions and hand gestures as visual cues. Use sign language if applicable.
  • Talk slowly in case the person has the ability to read lips.
  • As you evacuate, ensure that person is evacuating.

Additional Guidelines for Residence Halls

  • Maintain a list at the receptionist desk of all people that may need help.
  • Provide that list to the University Police and the Fire Department.
  • Wherever practical, relocate these students to a specific stairwell landing. Identify that location on the evacuation plan and advise the University Police and Fire Department.
  • Require physically-impaired persons to participate in fire drills.
  • Have pre-designated people to provide assistance during emergencies.
  • Evacuate to a pre-designated location to take "roll call".

Fire Marshal