Evacuation - Persons with Disabilities

With all campus personnel, including personnel with disabilities, it's important to build a plan ahead of time! Personnel with disabilities can do this by asking a co-worker, friend or fellow student to provide assistance if an emergency develops. This "evacuation assistant" should be informed about what disabilities you have and how he or she can best help you. Persons with disabilities have four basic evacuation options:

  1. Horizontal evacuation. This entails using building exits to gain access to outside ground level, or going into unaffected wings of contiguous building.
  2. Stairway (vertical) evacuation. This means of evacuation means using stairwells to reach ground level exits from the building. This could include using the LifeSlider for evacuation assistance.
  3. Staying in Place. Unless danger is imminent, remaining in a room with an exterior window, a telephone and a solid or fire resistant door may be your best option. With this approach, the person may keep in contact with KUPD by dialing 911 from a campus phone (or 913-588-5030 from cell) and reporting his or her location directly to the University Police. The police will then immediately relay this location to on-site emergency personnel, who will determine the necessity for evacuation. Phone lines are expected to remain in service during most building emergencies. If the phone lines fail, the individual can signal from the window by waving a cloth or other visible object.
    NOTE: The Stay in Place approach may be more appropriate for sprinkler protected buildings, or buildings where an "area of refuge" is not nearby or available. It may also be more appropriate for an occupant who is alone when the alarm sounds. A label on the door jamb or frame can identify a fire resistant door. Non-labeled 1 ¾ inch thick solid core wood doors hung on a metal frame also offer good fire resistance.
  4. Area of Refuge. With an evacuation assistant, going to an area of refuge away from obvious danger is another emergency plan option. The evacuation assistant will then go to the building emergency assembly area (EAA) and notify the on-site emergency personnel of the location of the person with a disability. Emergency personnel will determine if further evacuation is necessary.

 Whatever your plan is, make sure you communicate it to your Building Advisory Committee. Read more about building a personal emergency action plan from the NFPA guide: "Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities." 

**Prior planning and practicing of emergency evacuation routes are important in ensuring a safe evacuation.

Note: It is best to have pre-planned arrangements for evacuations assistance. Work with your department manager to discuss evacuation options and special items needed, than add to the Building Emergency Plan. Having a plan and practicing it may save your life. If you have other questions or need assistance with evacuation arrangements, contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at: uem@kumc.edu. 

Last modified: Sep 19, 2014