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Evacuation of Persons Requiring Assistance

Refuge Sites

Persons with mobility limitations will gather at refuge sites. Generally, these people will be evacuated with the help of the fire department and may remain at the refuge site until they arrive. However, if evacuation is necessary, follow the guidelines below.

Guidelines for Evacuation of Wheelchair/Scooter Users and Persons with Mobility Disabilities

  • If at ground level, exit on wheelchair ramp or down steps with assistance.
  • If staircase must be used to reach ground level, remain at a refuge site until help arrives.
  • Do not attempt to take an electrically powered chair up or down stairs.
  • If the person you are assisting is unable to speak clearly, look for a sign on the chair with printed instructions.

Guidelines for Evacuation of Persons who are Blind/Low Vision

  • Identify yourself.
  • Describe the emergency and ask if help is needed and how it can be provided.
  • Let the person take YOUR elbow. Describe your surroundings, give directions clearly and accurately.
  • Alert him/her to upcoming stairs or other obstacles.
  • Guide dogs are the responsibilities of their owners. Do not distract the dog, it is working.

Guidelines for Assisting Persons who are deaf or Hard of Hearing

  • Alert the person(s) that an emergency exists by using notes or hand gestures.

Note: Lip-reading is a skill that some persons who are deaf or hard of hearing have difficulty mastering. Consequently, utilizing this form of communication during an emergency may prove problematic, especially if the hearing person has an accent, facial hair, or the lighting is poor.

Guidelines for Assisting Persons with Asthma

If there is smoke, encourage the person to crawl and if possible have them cover their mouth with a damp cloth.

Guidelines for Assisting Persons with Epilepsy

Some persons with epilepsy report that loud and startling noise such as a fire alarm may trigger a seizure. In the event the person has a seizure keep them safe from further harm and do not force anything in their mouth.

Guidelines for Assisting Persons with a Developmental Disability

It is essential that staff and faculty working with a person with a Developmental disability remain composed during an emergency. Calmly explain what is happening in clear terms and guide the person to a safe exit.

Evacuation of Persons Requiring Assistance

The Responsibility of the Person Requiring Assistance

In an emergency situation, it is critical that you are clear about your needs during an evacuation and that these needs have been conveyed to your instructors, other staff, Human Resource Services (if you are a staff or faculty member) and Campus Security, at the earliest possible date during each term.

Pre-emergency Preparation

  • Be familiar with the buildings, exits, and Refuge Sites (See Appendix floor plans).
  • Speak to instructors and other staff about your evacuation needs.
  • Know the safest method of assistance you may require.
  • Should you have communication difficulties and if you use a wheelchair or scooter, place a sign on your chair with instructions.
  • Carry a cell phone, loud whistle or similar device you can operate. (Note: Due to the structure of the buildings, some cell phones do not work in some locations of the building). In a life-threatening situation, if you have any problems contacting Newnham Campus Security call 911 and advise them of the situation and your exact location.