Evacuation of Persons with Disabilities

  1. Persons with disabilities, access or functional needs are urged to self-identify and work with their supervisor, colleagues, classmates and Zone Crew members to determine evacuation routes and methods, areas of safe refuge, and other emergency planning needs before an emergency occurs.
  2. In many cases, evacuation from the building may not be necessary or advisable. Evacuate when the fire alarms are activated, directed by emergency personnel, or danger is imminent.
  3. Proceed to the nearest safe exit. Implement your individual emergency plan. Request assistance from others in the area if exit is difficult or obstructed.
  4. If unable to evacuate the building:
    • Take safe refuge in a fire-rated stairwell. Close the door to keep smoke out.
       - OR -
    • Evacuate ‘horizontally’ to a room away from hazards. Close the doors. Signal rescuers by placing a sign in the window. Place wet cloths around and under the door to prevent smoke from entering. Call UCI Police 9-1-1 and provide your location and situation to the dispatcher. Follow their directions.
    • If safe to do so, it is preferred that someone stay with the person with the disability.
    • Designate one person to contact on-scene emergency personnel with location, nature of evacuation needs, etc.


Persons with mobility limitations:

  • Listen to the individual; he/she is the expert regarding his/her own disability. Always ask the individual how you can help before attempting any rescue techniques or giving assistance.
  • Wheelchairs have many movable or week parts that were not constructed to withstand the stress of lifting. Ask the individual for the safest method for lifting/carrying them.

Person with visual disabilities:

  • Tell the person the nature of the emergency, how and where to exit.
  • Offer to guide him or her by having them take hold of your elbow.
  • As you walk, say where you are and advise of any obstacles.

Persons with hearing loss and/or speech impairments:

  • Turn the light switch on and off, tap the individual on the shoulder or make eye contact to get the individual’s attention.
  • For those who read lips, clearly state the problem. Use gestures and pointing as visual instructions.
  • Write concise notes. Example: “FIRE! Go to _______ exit now.”