Disability Services

Students around table at Yamhill Valley campus

Assisting persons with special needs in an evacuation

Area of evacuation refuge

On the Salem campus, the second floors are connected to at least one other building via sky bridges, which allows for horizontal evacuation to a building unaffected by the emergency or hazard. The college, in conjunction with local fire official has identified areas where, due to the proximity of a hazard, horizontal evacuation may not be possible. For those areas we have identified AREA OF EVACUATION REFUGE and labeled them accordingly. These are areas that building evacuation coordinators and emergency personnel will respond to and provide assistance as necessary.

General guidelines

  • Participate in and help identify gaps in evacuation plans during practice drills
  • Offer assistance, but let the person explain what help is needed
  • Do not carry a person except in the most extreme of circumstances
  • Be aware that a service animal's sense of direction may become confused during an emergency
  • Do not abandon the person after exiting a building
  • Lead to a safe place with others

Assisting deaf or hard of hearing persons

  • Get the attention of the person before speaking and look at them when speaking
  • Use facial expressions and hand gestures to communicate
  • Use short sentences
  • Use written notes to indicate emergency and instructions, for example, "Fire! Go out rear door now"
  • Check to be sure you are understood
  • Be patient
  • The person may have difficulty understanding the urgency of your message
  • Be aware that the person may not be able to hear oral commands issued by authorities

Assisting persons who are blind or low vision

  • During an emergency, announce your presence when entering the person's area
  • Offer your elbow
  • Do not grab the person's arm or hand
  • Communicate throughout the evacuation by describing in advance physical barriers or action to be taken such as, "Take two steps down"

Assisting owners of service animals

  • Do not pet or offer food or water without the permission of the owner
  • Plan for the service animal to be evacuated with the owner
  • In the event that you are asked to handle the service animal while assisting the individual, hold the leash and not the harness, if present

Assisting persons with learning disabilities

  • During an evacuation, be patient
  • Give instructions slowly and clearly
  • Offer to accompany them as their sense of direction may be limited
  • Encourage the person to practice their evacuation route(s) regularly

Assisting persons with limited communication

  • Look for an instruction card on the person
  • During an evacuation, give clear instructions
  • Maintain eye contact with the individual to insure all directions are heard and understood

Assisting persons with psychological disabilities

  • Understand that the person may have difficulty concentrating, handling stress, and initiating personal contact
  • Help reduce stress during an emergency by offering to escort the person through the evacuation
  • Give clear and simple instructions

Assisting persons who are developmentally disabled

  • Be aware that they may be unable to understand the emergency and could become disoriented or confused about the proper way to react
  • During an evacuation, give instructions slowly and clearly
  • Encourage the person to practice their evacuation route(s) regularly

Assisting persons with medical conditions

  • Offer assistance walking down stairs
  • Find ways to reduce the person's stress, exertion, and exposure to dust or smoke
  • Remind the person to bring medication or inhalers
  • Allow rest periods during evacuation if possible

Mobility imparments

Ambulatory

People with mobility limitations who are ambulatory may be able to negotiate stairs in an emergency situation with minor assistance. Some people who usually use a wheelchair or motorized scooter for long-distance travel may be able to walk independently in an emergency situation.

  • Do not interfere with person's movement
  • Clear displaced and fallen obstacles from egress routes
  • If the stairs are crowded, you may act as a buffer
  • People with mobility limitations who are ambulatory may be able to negotiate stairs in an emergency situation with minor assistance.

  • Some people who usually use a wheelchair or motorized scooter for long-distance travel may be able to walk independently in an emergency situation.

  • If danger is imminent and the person is able to walk down stairs with some assistance, it is advisable that he or she wait until the heavy traffic has cleared before attempting to evacuate.

  • Someone should walk beside the person to provide assistance, if needed.

  • If it is apparent that there is no immediate danger (absence of smoke or fire), the person may choose to stay in the building until emergency personnel arrive and determine the necessity to evacuate.

Non-ambulatory- assisting persons who use wheelchairs

Evacuation of non-ambulatory people is much more complicated than that of others. Fire and campus safety experts advise that, as soon as an alarm sounds, wheelchair users proceed to an enclosed stair­well if possible. Someone should be designated to go outside and inform emergency personnel of the non-ambulatory person's location. Whenever possible, someone should remain in the facility with the non-ambulatory person.

  • Be familiar with designated areas of refuge and location of evacuation equipment for wheelchair users
  • If the person is unable to speak clearly, look for a sign on the chair with printed instructions
  • Only in situations of extreme danger should untrained people attempt to carry a person in a wheelchair
  • Prior to moving the person, check for life-support equipment
  • Be aware that wheelchairs have parts not designed to handle the stress of lifting
  • If you and/or others cannot safely carry a person up/down stairs, don't. Instead –
  • Position the person in the safest place possible, according to the emergency
  • Alert emergency personnel of person's location

Contact

Salem campus
Building 2, Room 174
Phone: 503.399.5192
Fax: 503.399.6178
E-mail