Skip Navigation

General Procedures

  1. Building Evacuations
  2. Evacuation of Students with Disabilities
  3. Mobility Impaired
  4. Hearing Impaired
  5. Visually Impaired
  6. Campus-Wide Evacuations
  7. Shelter-in-Place
  8. Lock-Down
  9. Power Failures

Building Evacuations

  • When the building evacuation or fire alarm is activated during an emergency, leave by the nearest marked exit and alert others to do the same.
  • Do not use the elevators in case of fire and/or earthquake. Their safe operation during emergencies cannot be guaranteed.
  • Once outside, proceed to a clear area that is at least 500 feet away from the affected building.
  • Coordinate with others in your department to have an agreed upon meeting place so everyone can be accounted for.
  • Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrant areas, and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and personnel.
  • Do not return to an evacuated building unless told to do so by fire or police personnel on the scene.

Evacuation of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities living above the first floor in residence halls should follow the established Residential Life protocols when they are in their residence hall – either remain in their room or go to the area of refuge on their floor and contact Campus Safety (358-2228) to notify them of their location and need for assistance. In all other buildings, students who are unable to evacuate should immediately contact Campus Safety and notify them of their exact location and need for assistance.

If you have disabled persons in your classroom or work area, you should designate volunteers to assist these persons during the evacuation. The type of assistance necessary can vary by the disability.

Mobility Impaired

Individuals with mobility impairments and those who use wheelchairs may be evacuated using an evac-chair or by one of several methods described below. In each case, ask the disabled person which method would work best for them.

  • In-chair evacuation (only for non-motorized wheelchairs): Unlock brake, gently lean chair backward, and move to the edge of the first stair step. The helper in front steadies the chair by the rods to which the footrests are attached. The helper at the rear of the chair controls the descent and takes most of the weight of the chair.
  • Office chair evacuation: Transfer the disabled person into a sturdy office chair. One helper gently leans the chair backward. The other helper faces the chair and holds on to the front legs. Helpers control the descent by bending their legs slowly and keeping their backs erect.
  • Out-of-chair evacuation: The helper kneels in front of the wheelchair, with his or her back to the disabled individual. Place the disabled person’s arms up and over the helper’s shoulder and across the helper’s chest. The helper then leans forward before standing with the disabled person on his back.
  • Two-person carry side by side: The helpers position themselves next to the wheelchair and grasp the other helper’s upper arm or shoulder. The disabled person places his or her arms around the helpers’ necks. The helpers lean forward and place their free arms under the individual and firmly grasp each other’s wrists. The helpers descend the steps at the same time side by side.

Hearing Impaired

The hearing impaired person may not hear the alarms or verbal warnings, so the helper should get his or her attention by tapping on his or her shoulder or arm. Use hand signals to direct the hearing impaired individual toward a safe exit.

Visually Impaired

The assigned volunteer tells the visually impaired individual that they will help them out of the building. The helper should offer his or her arm for the disabled individual to grasp and should give clear verbal directions when making turns or going down steps.

Campus-Wide Evacuations

The Emergency Manager, Fire Chief, Police Chief, or their designee will announce evacuation of all or part of the campus grounds. When such an order is given, immediately vacate the area in question and relocate to another part of the campus grounds as directed. Building managers are responsible for aiding occupants in their buildings that require assistance.

If the campus is to be evacuated for longer than one day, residential students should meet with their Resident Directors who will provide information on evacuating campus.

Do not leave the safe area until you are accounted for and you are notified that it is safe to go.


Shelter-in-place means to seek an immediate, temporary shelter inside a building. Shelter-in-place may be necessary when there has been a release of toxic chemicals to the outside air or other emergency where the escape route may not be safely secured. If you are already located within a building when a shelter-in-place is communicated, you should remain there until further instructed.

The best location to choose for a sheltering-in-place is a room with the fewest number of doors and windows. A large room or hallway with a water supply is desirable. During a shelter-in-place event, shutting down the heating and ventilation systems is recommended. This will limit the movement of air into the building. Some air-conditioning and ventilation systems at the College are controlled by the Energy Office while others maintain local controls.


A lock-down action may be required during an actual or potential threat outside of the campus or specific buildings or areas. Campus Safety or other officials will order and announce “lock-down” procedures:

  • Clear hallways, restrooms, and other rooms that cannot be secured.
  • Lock all classroom doors and windows and pull down shades.
  • Move people away from windows and doors. Turn off lights.
  • Keep out of sight. Take cover behind a solid object, if possible.
  • DO NOT respond to anyone at the door until “all clear” is announced.
  • Remain in place until the police, or other official, gives the “all clear.

Power Failures

In the event of a power failure:

  • Remain calm. If the outage lasts more than a few minutes, contact Physical Plant. During non-business hours, contact Campus Safety.
  • Do not light candles or use any other open flames to illuminate the area. Emergency lights are designed to illuminate hallways and stairwells for 90 minutes or more, so safe travel through the buildings will not be immediately compromised.
  • If it is determined that an outage will last for an appreciable amount of time, unplug all electrical equipment, especially computers, and turn off all light switches.
  • Laboratory personnel should secure all experiments, close all fume hoods and chemical containers, unplug all equipment and turn off gases.
  • If you are trapped in an elevator stay calm. Use the emergency phone in the elevator cab to contact Campus Safety for assistance. You can also contact the Physical Plant.
  • If others are trapped in an elevator:
    • Advise them to stay calm.
    • Call Physical Plant or Campus Safety.
    • If any passengers are injured, dial 911.
    • Remain near the elevator car and maintain communications with the passengers until assistance arrives if it is safe to do so.
Emergency Handbook – Page 4 of 12

About this Policy

Ownership: Environmental Health and Safety; Campus Safety
Last Modified: Mar 25, 2021 –
Categories: Safety
For questions regarding this policy, please contact the policy owner.
Download icon Download as PDF