Emergencies such as fires and earthquakes may occur and drills are conducted to prepare the campus community for the possibility of an emergency. Instructors and staff should develop a plan of action if they are aware that they work with a student who has mobility, visual, hearing, or other inhibiting limitations. Ultimately, the person with a disability is responsible for his/her own safety in an emergency situation, but it is important that staff and classroom instructors play a role in student evacuation. If there is no safe means of evacuation for disabled persons from any given classroom or you need assistance in developing a plan, contact the Director of Disability and Learning Services (ext. 3039) in conjunction with the Director of Campus Safety (ext. 3000).
Students who are blind or have low vision should already be familiar with their surroundings after mobility and orientation training. They may not, however, be aware of emergency exits. Depending upon the nature of the emergency, during crisis periods, there may be a lot of commotion and noise. A student who is blind may not be able to orient himself or herself as well as in calmer times. Your assistance is critical to their safety.
Students who are deaf or hard of hearing may not hear alarms or other audible warnings. Instructors should inform the student of an emergency. In most instances, an interpreter/transcriber will be in the classroom to explain the emergency to the student. Provide any assistance a student might need during the evacuation process. There are three ways to get this person's attention:
In preparation for a building evacuation, individuals with mobility limitations should know of evacuation procedures suitable for them. The location of the classroom will often dictate the best course of action in the event of an evacuation. Elevators should not be used during an evacuation because they may not go directly to the appropriate floor, they may fail and trap people inside, and/or elevator shafts act as chimneys in funneling toxic smoke and fumes during structure fires.
Elevator breakdowns can occur and become life-threatening to a person who uses a wheelchair. When an elevator ceases to operate, press the Call Button immediately to contact Campus Safety. If a person who uses a wheelchair is stuck on an upper-level floor and uses a respirator to breathe, time is of the essence. Consult with the person in question to determine the amount of oxygen remaining in the respirator and assess their desire for emergency rescue. If you become alert to long-term repair issues with an elevator and you have a student taking a class in an upper-level classroom, contact the Registrar (ext. 3080) about getting the class changed to another site.