Emergency Evacuation of Disabled Persons

Individuals with disabilities may have special needs in emergency situations.

The best way for students or employees of the university with disabilities to ensure that they are safe on campus is to plan ahead, taking into account their own needs and limitations. The University of California, Davis has a comprehensive system for emergency planning. Under this system, each Department has an emergency plan, including a building evacuation plan, and a Department Safety Coordinator (DSC) charged with implementing that plan.

Employees with special needs are encouraged to be involved in their department's emergency planning and should contact their DSC for more information. The Fire Department has developed a SafetyNet covering guidelines for Emergency Evacuation Procedures for Employees/Clients with Disabilities.

Students with disabilities should talk to their professors and peers and discuss with them what assistance they may need in an emergency evacuation. If you will be spending time alone in a particular building on a regular basis, you should contact the DSC responsible for that area to discuss your needs.

In some circumstances, it will not be safe for the DSC or others to evacuate an individual with a disability. In those circumstances, the DSC will notify emergency personnel of the individual's location and need for assistance.

Many buildings on the UC Davis campus are equipped with visual alarms (flashing lights) that are activated with the building's fire alarm. View list of buildings equipped with visual alarms.

Evacuation and Sheltering Guidance 

All campus personnel are responsible for being familiar with emergency procedures and the location of fire alarm pull stations, emergency exits, fire extinguishers, assembly areas and shelter-in-place locations.  Staff and faculty are highly encouraged to incorporate the needs of the disabled into emergency plans and exercising them routinely.  This information provides general guidance for evacuation and sheltering.

  • Evacuation Guidance for the Disabled
  • ·   Work with supervisors and coworkers to develop a personalized evacuation plan
    ·   Established the Buddy System early on by pre-identifying coworkers agreeing to assist in an emergency
    ·   Do not become separated from personal care assistant, service animal or assistive device(s)
    ·   Only under extreme cases will your assistant need to leave to inform responders of your location
    ·   If you are alone and cannot evacuate, immediately call 911 and inform them of your location. 
  • Evacuation Guidance for Assisting a Disabled Person
  • ·   Never presume that a person wants or needs assistance in an emergency:  Ask first
    ·   Never guide by grabbing a visually impaired person’s arm, ask them if they would like to grab yours
    ·   Communicate circumstances to individual through notes, guidance, and/or gestures
    ·   Point out nearest evacuation route, maps, exits, and assembly area
    ·   Help move debris that may be impeding their evacuation
    ·   Assist in finding them a safe area of refuge to shelter-in-place if evacuation is not possible
    ·   Notify responders immediately about people remaining in the building and their location
  • Horizontal Evacuation –
    Moving to a safer area on the same level
  • ·   If on ground level and safe to do so, exit outside
    ·   If unsafe to exit building, move to unaffected wings or areas within the same building
    ·   Call 911 with location and condition of anyone remaining in building
  • Stairway Evacuation
  • ·   Use stairway to exit building
    ·   If mobility impaired but able to walk under your own power, proceed after heavy traffic has passed
    ·   Trained responders should conduct stairway evacuation of a wheelchair user
    ·   Only in situations of extreme danger should untrained people attempt to evacuate wheelchair users
  • Shelter-in-Place
  • ·   Move to pre-identified shelter-in-place location (ideal locations include: telephone and email accessibility for status updates, solid or fire resistant door, exterior window)
    ·   Turn off ventilation and seal doors, windows and vents if contaminants are present or suspected
    ·   Persons using a wheelchair should consider this action if evacuation is not possible
  • Lock Down
  • ·   Hide in pre-identified areas or your immediate work area if the threat does not allow movement
    ·   Help conceal those that require assistance
    ·   Consider assistive equipment to secure hiding spots
    ·   If required, use all resources to attack (ram attacker with power chair, hit with cane, etc.)

Contact UC Davis Disability Management Services at 530-752-6019 for additional disability assistance and information.