Disability and Accessibility Services

Evacuation Responsibility and Procedures

Individual Responsibility

As a resident or user of any campus building, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the evacuation procedure posted in the building.  Make yourself aware of evacuation routes, and of the location of exits, stairwells, phones, and elevators.

Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should inform College personnel, including the Disability Services Coordinator and the Office of Public Safety, of the nature of the disability and the type of assistance that may be needed. Residential students must also inform their Hall Coordinator and Collegium member.  Students should also notify labor supervisors and professors since evacuation may be required from the workplace, classroom, or laboratory.

Evacuation procedures begin with the sound of a building alarm.  Immediately move to the nearest stairway and exit the building. Do not use elevators during fire evacuation.  If immediate exit is not possible, move a safe distance away from the area.

If you must stay in place until emergency personnel arrive, make sure to inform another person of your specific location so they can inform the emergency responders.  If you are able to make telephone contact, call Public Safety at 985-3333 (campus extension 3333) or dial 911 to provide information about your location.  Give your name and location and describe the emergency and any special needs you have.


Special consideration may need to be made in emergency situations for students with disabilities.  Such individuals should familiarize themselves with the layout of buildings, especially noting all exits.  Prior planning and practice of emergency evacuation routes are important to assure safe evacuation.  While residence hall meetings are held to provide safety instruction, it is the responsibility of each resident to become familiar with evacuation procedures.

Students with disabilities who may need assistance in an emergency evacuation must identify themselves to their Hall Collegium, Hall Coordinator, and the Disability Services Coordinator.  The Public Safety Office will be given a list and room locations of students who have so identified themselves.  Public Safety will inform the Berea Fire Department of the residence location of students who have self-identified as needing evacuation assistance.

The Collegium Housing Officer will inform Public Safety, the Disability Services Coordinator, Collegium and hall staff when students with disabilities identified as needing assistance have moved their place of residence.

In case of a fire alarm, a mobility-impaired person should proceed to or ask for assistance to the nearest stairwell or should stay in place (i.e. rooms, lounges, etc.) unless danger is imminent.  Persons with phone access should contact Public Safety at 985-3333 or call “911”.  They should inform the tele-communicator of their location (building and room) and reason for calling.

The following evacuation options will help to assure the prompt evacuation of persons with disabilities.

  • Horizontal Evacuation.  Move a safe distance away from the area of imminent danger (e.g., to the opposite end of the corridor, outside the building if on the ground level, or to an adjoining building).
  • Vertical (Stairway) Evacuation.  Stairways may be used by those able to evacuate with or without assistance.  Persons who must use crutches or other devices such as walking aids should use their own discretion, especially where several flights of stairs are involved.
  • Stay in Place.  Unless danger is imminent, remain in a room with an exterior window and telephone access.  Close the door if possible.  Call Public Safety (985-3333 or campus extension 3333) and give the name, location, and reason you are calling.  If phone access is not possible, the individual may signal by hanging a bed sheet or other large, visible object out of the window.  The window should then be reclosed.
  • Area of Refuge.  If a person with disability cannot get far enough away from the danger by using Horizontal Evacuation, that person should seek another area of refuge with phone communication.  Ideally, such a place would have a sprinkler system.

Only emergency personnel should attempt to carry anyone down the stairs during an evacuation.

Do not use the elevator during fire evacuation procedures unless so directed by emergency personnel.

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