Evacuation Procedures for People with Disabilities
People with disabilities should discuss their needs with Disability Services and faculty members and staff in places in the college that they frequent, such as classrooms, work study job locations, Peer Tutoring, etc.
People with disabilities should plan in advance for emergencies by identifying primary and secondary evacuation routes to accessible exits.
If you need evacuation assistance, take the following steps:
- Do NOT use the elevator.
- If you’re in a class or college office, call Public Safety at 413-775-1111, or notify the faculty or staff member that they need to alert Public Safety of your location. If you’re not in a class or office, find the nearest employee (faculty or staff) and tell them that same information.
- You should NOT stay in the classroom or office UNLESS there is fire or smoke in the hallway and the room has no smoke or fire. If it is safe to stay in your current location and you are unable to safely exit the building, then you should shelter in place. Public Safety and/or responding local emergency personnel will conduct a “room to room” search to ensure that everyone has evacuated the building.
- If you cannot notify anyone on your floor that you need help, listen for rescue personnel who will be searching the building and be prepared to make noise to help responders find your location.
- Once alerted, Public Safety will take the appropriate actions to assist in your evacuation, or will notify those trained to evacuate individuals in need of special assistance, who will ensure your safe exit.
Assisting People with Disabilities during an Emergency
- Ask the person how you can help before attempting any rescue technique or giving assistance.
- Listen to the answer; the person is the best authority on his or her own disability.
- Keep service animals with their human partners.
- Tell the person the nature of the emergency and offer guidance to the nearest exit.
- Have the person take your elbow and escort him/her out of the building. Advise of obstacles as you walk.
- When you reach safety, help orient the person to the location and ask if any further assistance is necessary.
- Alert the person that there is an emergency by using hand gestures or by turning a light switch on and off.
- Verbalize, mouth instructions, or provide the individual with a short note containing instructions.
- Offer assistance as you leave the building.
- Elevators should not be used for evacuation during an emergency.
- If there is no immediate danger, take the person to the nearest accessible exit.
- If you cannot safely accompany the person to an accessible exit, notify Public Safety of the person’s exact location by calling 413-775-1111 on a cell phone or 1111 from a campus phone.
- Whenever possible, remain with the person until help arrives.
- Do not attempt to carry an electric wheelchair if it cannot be driven out of the building.
- ONLY in situations of extreme and immediate danger should you try to evacuate a wheelchair user without assistance. This person is the best authority on how he/she can be moved. Ask before attempting to move.
- It is best to let professional emergency personnel conduct the evacuation; however, a person with a mobility impairment can be carried by two people who have interlocked their arms to form a “chair,” or by carrying the person in a sturdy office chair.