Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Evacuation of Persons with Disabilities

The following information provides basic guidelines for assisting persons with physical disabilities during an emergency evacuation.

Ground Floor

Persons with physical disabilities should got to the nearest "area of refuge" on their floor.

Above or Below Ground Floors

Visually Impaired

Tell the person with the visual impairment the nature of the emergency and offer to guide the person to the nearest exit. Have the person take your elbow and escort him/her out of the building. As you walk, advise the person of any obstacles. When you reach your assembly area, orient the person to where he/she is and ask if any further assistance is necessary.

Hearing Impaired

Alert the person that there is an emergency situation by using hand gestures or by turning the light switch on and off. Verbalize or mouth instructions or provide the individual with a short note containing instructions. Offer assistance as you leave the building.

Mobility Impaired

Since elevators should not be used for evacuation during an emergency, persons with mobility impairments need assistance evacuating. Individuals who can walk may be able to evacuate themselves. Walk with the person to provide assistance if necessary.

Evacuating individuals who are not able to walk is much more complicated. If there is no immediate danger, take the individual to the nearest "area of refuge" on their floor.  Whenever possible, someone should remain with the person while another individual exits the building and notifies emergency personnel of the mobility impaired person's exact location/"area of refuge."

Only in situations of extreme and immediate danger should you try to evacuate a wheelchair user yourself. The person with the disability is the best authority on how he/she should be moved. Ask before you move someone. While it is best to let professional emergency personnel conduct the evacuation, a person with a mobility impairment can be carried by two people who have interlocked their arms to form a "chair" or by carrying the person in a sturdy office chair.

During working hours emergency coordinators will direct & assist in the evacuation needs of your building.