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Emergency Evacuation Procedures

Macalester College is committed to developing and implementing procedures to assist students with disabilities during an emergency.  Students should create their own personal emergency plan based on their individual needs that addresses specific action before and during an evacuation.

Pre-emergency Preparedness by the Student with a Disability

All students, faculty, and staff are automatically provided emergency and safety notifications through the RAVE system:

If you are a student with a disability and are concerned about your ability to safely evacuate in an emergency, you should:

  1. Discuss your concerns and options with Disability Services.  We can assist you in developing a plan to meet your needs in case of an emergency and include appropriate campus partners in that support.
  2. Bring to the attention of your faculty members, employers, coaches, and roommates the extent of the assistance you may need in case of an emergency. It is your responsibility to make your needs known.
  3. Become familiar with all emergency exits and evacuation routes in the buildings you frequent.
  4. Work with Disability Services on a personal emergency plan if you are unclear on how to manage an emergency evacuation.
  5. If you have difficulty speaking loudly, or have a voice/speech impairment, you should carry a whistle, or have other means of attracting attention from others.

Emergency Guidelines

  • Elevators should NOT be used in an evacuation unless instructed by emergency personnel.
  • School materials or any accessories should be left in the classroom/room in the event of an evacuation.  This may mean leaving a phone behind.
  • In the event of an evacuation, students who are unable to exit the building on their own accord should remain near the stairwell or the elevator. Emergency personnel will check the stairwells and elevator lobbies for those who are trapped.
  • Don’t be afraid to let others know when you need assistance.

Assisting Students with a Disability During an Emergency

The highest priority will be given to evacuating students with disabilities in all emergency situations. If an individual wants to help a person with a disability, always ask how you can help before giving assistance. The following guidelines should be used in assisting individuals with specific disabilities:

Mobility impairment

  • A wheelchair evacuation will only be attempted by a trained professional or unless it is necessary as a last resort in a life-threatening situation.
  • If located on an upper floor, individuals may be assisted to a stairwell landing to await evacuation or further instructions from Fire/Rescue or Police.
  • If individuals can walk with assistance, a “buddy” should accompany the individual.
  • Notify Police or Fire/Rescue authorities of the location of the person and the assistance needed.
  • If a person prefers to be removed from their wheelchair, always ascertain their preference of: the manner of being removed, the number of people needed for assistance, whether to extend extremities, whether a seat cushion or pad must be used, being carried forward or backward on stairs, the need for immediate paramedic assistance upon exiting the building.

Blindness or visual impairment

  • The campus community will be notified of an emergency via text and/or email.
  • The person with a disability should wait for assistance from someone who can act as a guide.
  • If possible, someone should follow behind to protect the individual from being pushed down in the event of crowding.
  • Tell the person the nature of the emergency and offer to guide the individual by offering an elbow. Do NOT grasp a visually impaired person’s arm.
  • The person assisting should give verbal instructions as to where they are and advise of any obstacles as they evacuate the building.

Deafness or hearing loss

  • Depending on the level of hearing loss, individuals with impaired hearing may or may not be able to hear the emergency alarm. Those who have a cell phone will be notified of an emergency.
  • An alternative warning technique may be used to gain the attention of individuals. Turning the lights off and on and using hand gestures or a written note should be used to describe the emergency.