The following emergency evacuation
description is written primarily to inform faculty, staff, and students of the
procedures for assisting students with disabilities in the event of an
emergency. However, a student with a disability must take personal
responsibility for his/her own safety. In addition to the procedures described
in detail below, students with disabilities are encouraged to identify primary and secondary routes to
exits, stairwells or other safe areas of refuge in buildings where they will be
taking classes. It is also important
at the beginning of each semester to discuss these procedures with each
instructor so you and the instructor are clear about what needs to be done in
case of an emergency. Read and review this information and know what is
expected in each classroom, building, and residence hall in case of an alarm.
On a ground level floor, persons with
physical disabilities should evacuate via accessible exits along with the other
occupants of the building.
Above or Below Ground Floor
Campus police should be notified immediately if there is a person with a mobility impairment on an above or below ground floor. It is preferable to call 765-285-1111 (instead of 911) because it connects to campus police directly.
Individuals with Mobility Impairments
Because elevators should not be used for evacuation during a fire alarm, persons with mobility impairments will need assistance in evacuating unless they are on a ground floor with accessible exits. As persons with mobility impairments have varying degrees of impairments, information is offered for two possible scenarios.
Persons with mobility impairments who are able to walk
independently, including those who use crutches or a
cane, may be
able to negotiate stairs in an emergency situation with minor
assistance. Even those who customarily use a wheelchair
for long distance travel may be able to walk
independently in an
emergency. If danger is imminent and the person is able
down stairs with some assistance, it is advisable that
until the heavy traffic has cleared before attempting to
Someone should walk beside him/her to provide assistance,
needed. If it is apparent that there is no immediate
person may choose to stay in the building until emergency
personnel arrive and determine the necessity to evacuate.
situations of false alarm or a small fire, evacuation of
mobility impairments may not be necessary at all;
however, this decision should be made only by qualified emergency
Evacuating individuals who are not able to walk can be
there is no immediate danger, the person with a
disability should proceed or ask for assistance to the nearest
exterior stairwell or safe area of refuge to await
personnel. Campus police should be contacted
alert emergency personnel of the location of the person
disability. When possible, someone should remain in the
the person with the disability while another individual
building and notifies emergency personnel of the person
disability’s exact location. If emergency personnel determine that
there is a need to evacuate a person, trained rescue professionals
will assist in the evacuation.
Only in situations of extreme and
immediate danger should untrained people attempt to evacuate a wheelchair
user. There is significant risk to the
with a disability especially if the person
has limited control of his/her body, is more prone to broken bones, or uses
apparatuses such as respirators or catheters.
Additionally, untrained persons attempting to evacuate a person with a
disability are at risk of injury, especially if attempting to carry a power
wheelchair. If danger is imminent,
the person with a disability is the best authority on how he/ she should be
moved. Ask before you attempt to move
someone! While it is best to let the
professional emergency personnel conduct the evacuation, a person with a mobility impairment can be carried by two people who have interlocked arms to form a chair or by carrying
the person in a sturdy office chair.
Individuals with Vision Impairments
Most persons with vision impairments should be familiar
with their immediate surroundings. In the event of an
emergency, tell the person with a vision impairment the
nature of the emergency and offer to guide the person to
the nearest emergency exit. Have the person take your
elbow and escort him or her out of the building. As you
walk, tell the person where you are and advise of any
obstacles. When you reach safety, orient the person to
where he/she is and ask if any further assistance is
Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Some persons who are deaf or hard of hearing may not
perceive audio emergency alarms and will need to be
alerted to the situation by gestures or by turning the
switch off and on.
Emergency instructions can be given by
verbalizing or mouthing, or by a short, explicit note.
Example: Fire alarm! Go out
south doors now! It is
appropriate to offer assistance to a deaf or hard of
person as you leave the building.
Copyright © 2015 Ball State University 2000 W. University Ave. Muncie, IN 47306
800-382-8540 and 765-289-1241