Evacuation Procedures for Employees with Disabilities

Disabled employees may need help in the event of a workplace evacuation. The time to plan for their evacuation is now.

During a workplace evacuation or fire drill, employees with disabilities should be assisted by two assigned designated assistants.

It's the job of the first designated assistant to help disabled employees to the nearest exit that leads outside of the building, to the nearest stairwell (area of refuge), or to another safe area to await evacuation by the fire department.

The second designated assistant should report the location of the individual with a disability to an emergency monitor for evacuation by emergency personnel, if necessary. If only one assistant is present, they should remain with the individual and have another employee inform the monitor of their location.

NOTE:Firefighters and rescue personnel always proceed initially to the area of greatest risk to systematically perform search and rescue operations.

Exit Routes

If normal exit routes are dangerous due to the fire, heat, smoke, etc., the designated assistant should proceed to an alternate exit, the closest stairwell, or to another building module.

If a stairwell must be used, wait for the flow of traffic to stop, and then enter the stairwell. If the disabled employee cannot be safely evacuated down the stairwell, they should remain in the area of refuge until an all-clear message is received or they are assisted from the building by emergency response personnel.

Elevators should never be used for emergency evacuation unless the elevators are under the direction of the fire department or are equipped with special systems and are pre-approved for evacuation.

Visitors with Disabilities

Because visitors with disabilities will not have assistants assigned to them, the host employee should assume the role of designated assistant. Monitors should ensure that all areas on the floor, including restrooms, are thoroughly checked for any individuals with disabilities.