Evacuation Of Individuals With Disabilities
When assisting an individual with a disability, always ask if they will allow you to help and how you can best help them in an emergency. During an emergency, individuals with mobility impairments should seek rescue assistance in the nearest stairwell.
If immediate evacuation is necessary, be aware of the following considerations:
- If someone is seeking shelter in a stairwell, notify emergency personnel of their location.
- Wheelchairs have moveable parts; some are not designed to withstand stress or lifting.
- Lifting may be dangerous to you or them.
- In a life-threatening emergency, it may be necessary to remove an individual from the wheelchair. Lifting a person with minimal ability to move may be dangerous.
- Wheelchairs should not be used to descend stairwells, if at all possible.
- Non-ambulatory persons may have respiratory complications. Remove them from smoke or fumes immediately and determine their needs and preferences.
Individuals with a Visual Impairment:
- In case of emergency, offer to act as a sighted guide by offering your elbow to escort them to a safe place. As you walk, describe any obstacles.
Individuals with a Hearing Impairment:
- In case of emergency, write a note describing the emergency. ("Fire. Go out the rear door now!")
- Turn the light switch on and off to gain attention, and then indicate through gestures what is happening and what to do.