For People With Disabilities
Evacuating a disabled or injured person alone should be a last resort. Consider your options and the risk of injuring yourself and others in an evacuation attempt. Do not make an emergency situation worse.
Some people have conditions that can be aggravated or triggered if they are moved incorrectly. Emergency conditions such as fire, smoke and loss of electricity must be considered in evacuation decisions. If people with mobility impairments cannot exit, they should be moved to a safer area, e.g., most enclosed stairwells.
- Attempt a rescue evacuation only when a disabled person may be moved to the “area of rescue,” located in the stairwells, to await rescue by emergency personnel.
- Attempt a rescue evacuation only when a disabled person is in immediate danger and cannot wait for professional assistance.
- In some multistory buildings, a disabled person may be moved to the “area of rescue,” located in the stairwells, to await rescue by emergency personnel.
- Notify police or fire personnel immediately about any people waiting to be rescued.
- Two physically capable occupants should be invited to volunteer to assist the disabled to evacuate. If a volunteer is not available, designate two people to assist who are willing to accept the responsibility. Ask the disabled person how he or she can best be assisted or moved, and whether they require any special considerations or items that need to come with the person.
- Do not use elevators unless authorized to do so by fire department personnel. Elevators could fail during fire or other disaster.
- If disabled people are in immediate danger and cannot be moved to a safer area to wait for assistance, it may be necessary to evacuate them using a carry technique. Proper lifting techniques — e.g., bending the knees, keeping the back straight, holding the person close before lifting and using leg muscles to lift — should be used to avoid injury to the rescuers. Certain lifts may need to be modified depending on the person’s disability. Remember that two-person rescues are preferable.
- Do not evacuate disabled persons in their wheelchairs. This is standard practice to ensure the safety of disabled people and volunteers. Wheelchairs will be evacuated later if possible.
Number for All Emergencies