Evacuation for People With Disabilities

Types of Disability to Consider

A physical, psychological, intellectual or sensory impairment, either temporary or permanent, that can produce a mobility impairment, which results in a person requiring assistance during an emergency evacuation.

The Five General Categories of Disabilities

Mobility, blind or low vision, deaf or hard of hearing, speech, cognitive

Preparation for Emergency Evacuation of People with Impairments

Each department should have appropriate signage directing those who are willing to develop a personal emergency assistance plan and the department’s accommodations prior to an emergency.

Knowledge Base 

Know your evacuation routes and refuge points and have signage and/or equipment available for utilization at the refuge points for possible immediate evacuation.

Train department staff and/or faculty volunteers for the type of assistance they may render for the evacuation of faculty, staff, students, or visitors as well as possible service animals.  Staff or faculty must be volunteers.

Emergency assistance plans are dependent upon the type of emergency.  Plan accordingly.

Depending on the makeup of your volunteer staff base, such as fitness levels, you may have to look into planning a “safe room”.

Recommended Reading

Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities from the National Fire Protection Association/DARAC

Emergency Evacuation Preparedness, Taking responsibility for Your Safety, A Guide for People with Disabilities and Other Activity Limitations by June Isaacson Kailes

State of Texas Effective Communications Toolkit Emergency Communications With People Who Have Disabilities