2.14 Emergency Preparedness

General Guidelines

  • If you are a person (employee or student) with a disability who may need assistance during an emergency, establish a plan ahead of time that assures you get the help you need. Work with OSWD to develop an individual plan for various types of emergency situations.
  • In any emergency, if an individual wants to help a person with a disability, always ask how you can help before giving assistance. Ask how the person can best be assisted or moved, and whether there are any special considerations or items that need to come with the person.
  • Do not use elevators, unless authorized to do so by an officer of the Department of Public Safety, or police or fire personnel. Never use elevators if there is fire or structural damage to the building.
  • In a life-threatening situation, contact the Department of Public Safety at x5555 (Voice/Videophone), x5444 (TTY), page <DPS.Office@Gallaudet.edu>, or call 911.
  • In a life-threatening situation, follow a pre-established plan where possible, but do not hesitate to help a person with a disability to evacuate the building using whatever means possible.

Assisting People with Disabilities in Emergency Evacuation

Using Campus Emergency Evacuation Chairs: The OSWD section of the Gallaudet website has a 14-minute, closed captioned video, produced by Garaventa, that explains the use of their "Evacu-Trac" emergency evacuation chairs.

People who are Mobility Challenged and use a wheelchair: When the alarm is activated, people using wheelchairs should either "Stay in Place" or "move to a safe place" and wait for assistance from the Floor Captain, a member of the DC Fire Department, or other trained emergency personnel.

Emergency personnel are trained to go to Areas of Refuge to assist people with disabilities. If the person with a disability is alone, s/he should contact the Department of Public Safety, x5444 (TTY) or x5555 (Voice/Videophone), page: <DPS.Office@Gallaudet.edu> or call 911. The person should give a current location or Area of Refuge to which s/he is going. Elevators are to be used only if authorized by emergency personnel, but may never be used in the event of fire or structural damage.

People who have Mobility Challenges and do not use a wheelchair: People with mobility challenges who are able to walk independently may be able to negotiate stairs in an emergency with minor assistance. In an actual evacuation, these individuals may choose to wait until heavy traffic has cleared before attempting the stairs. If there is no imminent danger, the person with a disability may choose to stay in the building or move to an Area of Refuge until emergency personnel arrive. Elevators are to be used only if authorized by emergency personnel, but may never be used in the event of fire or structural damage.

People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: Most areas and rooms in University buildings are equipped with fire bells and strobe lights that simultaneously sound an alarm (auditory) and flash strobe lights (visual). Although this system is intended to alert deaf and hard of hearing individuals, they may not notice or hear emergency alarms and may need to be alerted to emergency situations.

People who are Deaf Blind or have Low Vision: People who are deaf blind or have low vision will need to be alerted to emergency situations. People who are deaf blind or have low vision may be familiar with their immediate surroundings and frequently traveled routes. Nonetheless, since the emergency evacuation route might be different from commonly traveled routes, people who are deaf blind or have low vision should be assisted to exit the building.