Emergency Evacuation Information

Emergency Evacuation Guidelines and Resources for
Faculty, Staff and Students with Disabilities
The Catholic University of America is committed to providing accommodations and
access to safe egress for any visitor or member of the community. The University
Community shares responsibility to meet these needs. These guidelines and resources
should be considered and implemented to meet your personal needs.
Assisting persons who cannot evacuate will be a priority for responding emergency
A person with limited mobility, in the event of a fire or fire alarm, should:
Evacuate to the outside if able, if on the ground floor, or if they have an
unobstructed route. Do not use an elevator (it may not respond or may shut down
in a fire, leaving individuals trapped). Persons with disabilities know their
abilities and limitations best. Attempts by others to assist or carry someone down
stairs may result in injury to the person receiving or providing assistance. Make
decisions to accept or refuse assistance accordingly.
Request that others (once they can evacuate outside) notify emergency personnel
of your location in the building, if an individual elects to remain inside.
Move inside an exit stairwell, to a stairwell landing, and stay there if not able to
exit to the exterior. Exit stairwells are intended to keep out smoke and fire and
serve as a primary area of refuge. Emergency personnel will check stairwells for
individuals who need assistance.
Ensure you have enough space as not to obstruct others evacuating Not all exit
stairwells were constructed to accommodate adequate space for refuge.
Occupants who may be in the situation to require evacuation assistance should
become familiar with the limitations and surrounding of the buildings they use on
a regular basis. (See Developing Personal Emergency Plans).
Consideration should be given that it may be wiser and safer for you to remain in
“safe wait area” with the door closed if you not able to exit to the building
exterior or an exit stairwell. Safe Wait Areas are rooms that have windows facing
an area where people might see someone signaling for assistance. This is
especially true for buildings protected by a fire sprinkler system (see attached list
of facilities life safety systems).
o Call 202-319-5111 to verify your location and confirm you are still
present inside the building awaiting assistance.
o Rescue Assistants. Some people with disabilities may chose to identify
personal rescue assistants who will volunteer to do some or all of the
following for them:
1. Know his/her likely schedule, keep back-up medication,
equipment, or mobility devices,
2. Stay with them while awaiting rescue assistance as long as they are
not in danger themselves.
3. Report the location of the person awaiting rescue assistance
Emergency Communication and Alerting Procedures
Information is updated on the “Safety First” website (accessible on www.cua.edu,
then click “Safety First” or http://www.cua.edu/safety/) in the event of an
Refer to the public safety website on “How We Manage Emergencies”. Campus
watch captains and R/A’s should familiarize themselves with this information in
the event that a colleague inquires about it.
Emergency Policy Posters are located in all campus facilities outline emergency
evacuation and shelter in place guidelines as well as a floor plan with egress
routes noted.
It is strongly recommended that persons with disabilities acquire additional
alerting devices to draw attention to them during an emergency. Cell phones, loud
whistles and flashing lights are effective tools for drawing attention or for
contacting emergency personnel.
Everyone Can Help. All members of the community are asked to be aware that some
individuals, including persons with disabilities, may need assistance in the event of an
emergency. In addition to those with mobility impairments, people with hearing and
visual impairments may need to be alerted and given further instruction in emergency
situations. People with visual impairments and campus visitors will likely need
additional assistance as buildings and evacuation routes will be unfamiliar.
Personal Emergency Plans (PEPs) for Persons with Disabilities
It is strongly recommended that, as an individual with a disability, you come up with
your own Personal Emergency Plan (PEP) for how to evacuate during an emergency and
practice. Practice will help to ensure that it can be implemented appropriately and help
identify any gaps or problems the require refinement so that it works as expected.
Although the process of developing a Personal Emergency Plan is optional for students
and staff, the University 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.
For suggestions or advice on coming up with a plan, you may contact Environmental
Health and Safety or the Department of Public Safety.The University offers the
opportunity, through a confidential process, to develop a PEP that could include such
strategies as storing extra equipment or medications specific evacuation procedures,
sheltering procedures, volunteer rescue assistants, and designating means of
communication in the event of an emergency.
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.
In addition to submitting a Self-Identification On-Line Survey, those individuals needing
assistance are encouraged to share information with several reliable people in their
classes, residence hall or work area about his/her need for assistance during an
emergency. These are their 'volunteer rescue assistants' who might assist in an actual
evacuation. Such notification is intended to act as a supplement to the Self-Identification
On-Line Survey. . On the form, it is recommended that the individual describe the type of
assistance he/she may need during a building evacuation. Include any mobility devices
used (i.e. wheelchair, cane, crutch, service animal). Does your disability prohibit you
from using steps or hinder your ability to negotiate stairs. Do NOT provide medical
details. Other information to consider including:
Your schedule
The types of assistance you might need in an emergency
Emergency contact numbers
Where you keep your emergency supplies
How to operate your assistive devices, if applicable
The size and weight of your assistive devices, in addition to whether or not they
are collapsible,
in case they have to be transported
Location of Areas of Rescue Assistance and Safe Wait Areas
Developing Personal Emergency Plans
Once an individual completes a Self-Identification Survey, it is recommended that they
contact the Department of Public Safety, and either his/her supervisor (for employees), or
the Housing Coordinator and the relevant Resident Assistant (for students), to develop a
PEP that includes specific means of communication, evacuation procedures and
sheltering procedures in the event of an emergency. This plan should include:
Identifying the safest area(s) located on each floor within the building(s) where a
person with disabilities can await assistance from emergency response personnel.
Designating a means to inform emergency response personnel (e.g., police, fire)
of the locations of any person(s) requiring assistance.
Identification of volunteer Rescue Assistants.
Location of back-up medical or assistive equipment and medications.
Training in transfer techniques, if needed, for use of - specialized evacuation
Practice/drill opportunities.
Individuals should keep a copy of their PEP and share it with those people identified to
assist. Students are welcome to keep a copy in the Disability Support Services office.
PEP’s should be dated and reviewed periodically.
Reference websites and additional information
8.3.1 Evacuation Emergency
For an emergency that would be dangerous to your life and health if you
were to stay in your building.
Be prepared: Before an emergency happens, find at least two
emergency exits from your building.
Sound the fire alarm in event of fire. For other evacuation
emergencies, call the Department of Public Safety at x5111.
Exit the building from the closest available exit. Don’t use the
If you can’t get out the door, get someone’s attention, e.g., yell and
scream out a window. If you can, hang an attention-getting item on
or from a window (e.g., a sheet, sign or coat) and phone x5111.
 Refer to the guidelines and references for detailed information
if you have a disability and require assistance.
In the event of a fire:
Sound the fire alarm.
Feel the door handle:
o If it is hot, don’t open it. Go to a window and call for help.
o If it is not hot, open cautiously. Check for smoke or fire before
o If there is smoke in your room or in the hallway while you are
getting out, STAY LOW to the floor.
 If you can’t evacuate:
1. Call x 5111 and/or go to a window and signal for help
2. Go to the nearest exit or preferred area of safe refuge
and await the arrival of emergency personnel.
Once outside:
Call the Department of Public Safety (202-319-5111) from a safe
Report to the assembly area designated for the building (see
emergency policy poster map in each building).