Emergency Evacuation

I. Policy on Emergency Evacuation

University policy requires that all persons leave any facility in which a fire alarm is activated as promptly as possible via the nearest available exit. No one is expected to unduly endanger him or herself in order to effect or assist with the evacuation of others and everyone has a duty to ensure that other occupants are aware of an emergency. Similarly faculty, supervisors and student leaders (“evacuation leaders”) are responsible for following the procedures set below.

II. Arrangements for Evacuation

Students, faculty and staff with disabilities are encouraged to discuss any individual evacuation issues with the Department of Safety and Security. In order to maximally assure safe exit from a building being evacuated, you are encouraged to make prior arrangements.

Arrangements for assistance are usually best accomplished between the individual requiring assistance and one or more peers in the form of a buddy plan. Persons with disabilities who are unable or unwilling to make such arrangements may contact the faculty or staff member in charge of a facility or activity to make arrangements for assistance with evacuation. Redundant arrangements should be made to ensure the needed assistance is provided should the primary provider be absent when an emergency occurs.

As a person with a disability, your needs may not be readily identifiable to others. If you suspect this is the case, you should inform the person in charge of the facility or activity if assistance with evacuation is required. Only persons directly involved need be made aware of your arrangements for assistance.

III. Evacuation and Alternatives

The emergency evacuation alarm systems in University facilities include visual and audible signaling devices which you to alarm conditions. In residential facilities, signaling devices may be added or modified within individual units to accommodate you.

Elevators cannot be safely used for emergency egress and are typically programmed to cease operation when a fire alarm is activated. A wheelchair can be an unacceptable impediment to others using the stairway to evacuate, and may therefore have to be abandoned. There are techniques which can be used to evacuate a person with mobility impairments who has abandoned their wheelchair. These techniques must only be used after sufficient training and practice.

The following procedure should be used in the evacuation of a person with a disability who is unable to use the stairs or who is dependent upon equipment for mobility. Evacuation leaders (faculty, supervisors and student leaders) are responsible for the safe evacuation of all persons they supervise, organize or teach. The evacuation leader should direct or escort the person with a disability to an area of rescue assistance (enclosed stairwell landings) where that person can await assistance from emergency personnel in a position that does not impede or prevent emergency egress by other occupants. If the stairwell becomes smoke-filled or otherwise untenable, proceed to another usable stairwell. If another stairwell is unavailable, take the person to a room which is habitable and close the door. From the nearest phone, dial 911 and give your name and exact location. The evacuation leader should then exit the area and immediately direct emergency personnel to the location of the person awaiting assistance. Any and all ambulatory occupants with a vision or hearing disability, should be evacuated along with other building occupants. Those individuals may benefit from an escort and should be assigned one from the class or work area.

IV. Questions

Questions pertaining to emergency procedures should be referred to the Department of Safety and Security at (207) 221-4346.

Questions on ADA compliance and/or accommodations for persons with physical disabilities should be directed to the director of Human Resources, in that person’s capacity as the ADA Compliance Officer at (207) 602-2384.