Evacuation Tips for Persons with Special Needs

Tips for Persons Who Use Wheelchairs

Preparedness kits should include –

  • Heavy gloves for making your way over glass or debris
  • Extra battery for electric wheelchairs
  • Patch kit for punctured wheels
  • Flashlight

Tips for Deaf or Hard of Hearing Individuals

Preparedness kits should include –

  • Pen and paper and a flashlight to communicate in the dark
  • Extra hearing aid batteries

Tips for Persons Who Are Blind or Low Vision

Supply kits should include –

  • Extra folding white cane
  • Heavy gloves for feeling your way over glass or debris
  • When preparing your evacuation plan ask for information in alternate formats, if needed, such as building evacuation instructions
  • You should know how to describe your location and the nearest –
    • Telephone
    • Alarm box
    • Emergency medical kits

You should also consider —

  • Marking emergency supplies with large print or Braille
  • Making sure that evacuation signage is adequately marked for your needs
  • Practicing your evacuation route periodically both with your service animal and white cane

Tips for Persons With a Service Animal

  • Include instructions in your plan for service animals
  • Some dogs fear metal grated steps
    • If your evacuation route has these kinds of steps, get your dog accustomed to the route
  • If the only stair rail is on your left side where a service dog should typically be, accustom the dog to heeling down the right side if you do not intend to work the dog on the steps
  • Be cautioned that if a dog typically stops at each new flight others behind you may panic
    • Heeling the dog may be safer in some instances

Tips for Persons with Learning Disabilities

When making your plan for evacuation –

  • Ask for information in alternate formats, if needed
  • Review general building evacuation guidelines and ask questions if you do not understand something
  • See if your evacuation routes have signage that is easy to follow
  • Ask someone to guide you during an evacuation if you feel you need help
  • Ask someone to write down information if you have a hard time understanding oral directions
  • Practice your evacuation route(s) regularly

Tips for Persons with Limited Communication

  • Determine how you will best communicate with others during an emergency
  • Consider having evacuation and emergency instructions written down on a card, carried at all times and placed in an easy to see location
  • Have batteries for communication equipment in preparedness kit

Tips for Persons with Psychological Disabilities

  • When developing plan, consider strategies to reduce the stress of emergencies by checking directional signage for exits and designated area of refuge in your planned evacuation route

Tips for Persons with Developmental Disabilities

When you plan for an evacuation —

  • Review general building evacuation guidelines and ask questions if you do not understand something
  • Request evacuation and emergency information in alternate formats if needed
  • Make sure that your evacuation routes have signage that is easy to follow
  • Ask someone to guide you during an evacuation if you feel you need help
  • Practice your evacuation route(s) regularly

Tips for Persons with Medical Conditions

Medical conditions that may impact your ability to evacuate a building or follow emergency instructions include –

  • Pregnancy
  • Respiratory problems
  • Cardiac problems
    • Ask for assistance walking down stairs
    • Remember to bring medication or inhalers when evacuating
    • Consider taking rest periods during evacuation, if possible

Contact Us

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Building 2, Room 174
Phone: 503.399.5192
Fax: 503.399.6178
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