Persons with mobility impairment may be allowed to "defend in place" and not be required to evacuate if they are:
- Located above or below the level of building exit, and
- Physically cannot exit without assistance.
Definition of mobility impaired
Persons who use a wheelchair, crutches, canes, walkers, etc. Persons who are able to walk should exit if possible, but need to decide if they can safely descend the stairs. Those with emphysema, asthma, heart disease, and arthritis, depending on the situation, may also follow the guidelines for defending in place.
Persons who are visually impaired should, with the assistance of others, evacuate the building using the stairs, if they are familiar with their immediate surroundings and frequently traveled routes. If visually impaired persons are unfamiliar with the emergency evacuation route and assistance is not available, they should defend in place. To assist visually impaired persons:
- Announce the type of emergency.
- Offer your arm for guidance.
- Tell the person where you are going, obstacles you encounter.
- When you reach safety, ask if further help is needed.
To alert people with hearing limitations:
- Turn lights on/off to gain the person's attention, or
- Indicate directions with gestures, or
- Write a note with evacuation directions.
- Personal Emergency Plans (PEPs) for Persons with Disabilities
Although the process of developing a Personal Emergency Plan is optional for students and staff, the College encourages proactive planning on the part of the entire college community for emergency conditions. Individuals with disabilities may require additional assistance with alerting, evacuating, and sheltering in the event of an emergency.
The College offers the opportunity, through a confidential process, to develop a PEP that could include such strategies as storing extra equipment or medications, providing Campus Police with your class and personal schedule, specific evacuation procedures, sheltering procedures, volunteer rescue assistants, and designating means of communication in the event of an emergency.
Although not required, faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to identify their concerns about evacuation in case of an emergency, and to develop a PEP that is effective for them.
Even without a PEP in place, having a cell phone on you at all times and programming the Public Safety and Service phone number into your phone can allow you to alert Public Safety and Service if an emergency occurs and you have concerns about evacuating.
Students wishing to create a PEP for themselves, or those with questions about evacuations can contact Public Safety and Service.
Defend in Place
Unless the fire or other hazard is life threatening to a mobility-impaired person, or the person is on the ground floor (exit level of the building), then it may be advisable for that person to remain in her or his currently occupied room. If the individual decides to defend in place, he or she must immediately:
- Notify others evacuating that you are remaining in your room and ask them to contact campus police with that information immediately upon exiting the building.
- If a phone is available, call Public Safety and Service to inform them that you are defending in place, and your exact location.
- Close the door to prevent smoke entry, and, if necessary, put towels or any other available fabric at the crack at bottom of the door.
- If possible, move to a window with a brightly colored cloth to wave to the fire department. Do not break the window unless absolutely necessary. (Breaking the window could allow smoke to enter the room from the floor below or injure a person below).