Hot Tips (Occupant Safety)

Planning for Evacuation

When it comes to evacuating facilities in the event of an emergency we need to be prepared for any eventuality in order to get everyone out safely. That is why emergency evacuation plans are vital. Extra precautions and considerations need to be taken in order to accommodate the individual needs of students, staff, and visitors with physical or sensory disabilities, and those who may lack understanding of a situation or the ability to act quickly.

Identifying and preventing risk is a crucial part of emergency planning and should never allow leaving anyone behind because they are differently abled. Pre-planning for an emergency is imperative. Campuses must have the capacity to move all persons with disabilities to a safe location immediately in any emergency.

Points to consider when planning:

  • Clearly visible evacuation procedures
  • Consider mobility-impaired and persons with sight/hearing impairment
  • Staff training in use of assistive equipment and procedures
  • Regular reviews, especially if the building has in any way been modified
  • Visitors will often be unfamiliar with the layout of your premises
  • Visitors share their needs upon entry

Develop a plan to necessitate provisions and share the information with all people concerned. Campus administration has a moral, ethical, and legal responsibility to keep their whole community safe in the event of an emergency.

Evacuation chairs provide a universal evacuation solution for smooth stairway descent during an emergency. Evacuation sleds are designed to help evacuate non-ambulant people or people who may not be able to walk down stairs in an emergency.

More information is available at

This article originally appeared in the College Planning & Management May 2018 issue of Spaces4Learning.

About the Author

Mark Roberts is vice president of Evac+Chair North America. He can be reached at [email protected].