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Guide for Individuals with Disabilities in an Emergency

Area of Refuge sign for emergencies for persons with disabilities

Preparation

Individuals with disabilities requiring assistance during an emergency should take the time to develop a personal evacuation plan and should consider the following information when creating this plan:

  • Create a plan to shelter-in-place and a plan to get away depending on the type of emergency and your location (academic setting or residence);
  • Ensure your contact information and any alternate means of communicating information (e.g., email, phone/text, etc.) are up-to-date;
  • Program Stanford's emergency hotline (650-725-5555) into your cell phone;
  • Consider arranging a buddy system with a friend or colleague who can alert you of an emergency, knows your schedule, can check with you, and/or assist you as needed;
  • Know if emergency evacuation chairs are available in your building and be able to instruct others in how to operate as needed;
  • Consider wearing medical alert tags to inform others of pertinent health conditions to be aware of in an emergency;
  • Assemble a kit of emergency supplies necessary to self sustain for at least three days (e.g., water, non-perishable food, first aid kit, medication, etc.);
  • Label your adaptive equipment with your current contact information;
  • Consider your service animal or pet in your planning as needed;
  • Show others how to operate your wheelchair or other assistive devices;
  • Be able to clearly articulate your needs to emergency personnel and/or others providing volunteer assistance;
  • If you require life sustaining medical treatment (e.g., dialysis, home health care, etc.) identify the availability of a location near campus;
  • Identify primary and secondary ways to evacuate campus facilities including classrooms, labs, work areas, recreational facilities, libraries and residences (noting Areas of Refuge/stairwells);
  • Become familiar with the Emergency Assembly Point (EAP) of buildings you frequent and note the accessible path of travel (note alternate pathways as well);
  • Communicate your plan with campus emergency coordinators, including your preference for assistance during an evacuation;
  • Advocate for yourself; and
  • Practice your personal evacuation plan frequently and revise it as necessary.

Response

If an emergency strikes, it is critical for everyone to take appropriate and deliberate action.  Dial 911 for emergency assistance. Contact Stanford's emergency hotline (650-725-5555) for the most up-to-date information. If assistance is available, ask for help if you need it. 

Earthquake

  • Create a safe space for yourself;
  • Do not try to immediately get out of the building as you could sustain injuries from falling debris;
  • Move to a safe location such as an interior wall or in a doorway and stay away from windows, unsecured furniture or heavy items that could fall or tip over;
  • Lock your wheelchair;
  • Cover your head and/or protect yourself as best as possible;
  • Do not at attempt to transfer from your wheelchair or bed until shaking has stopped; and
  • Once the shaking has stopped, check yourself for injury, look for hazards, and decide if it is safe to evacuate or remain where you are until emergency personnel arrive.

Fire

  • If you are on the first floor, evacuate the building on your own or with assistance as needed;
  • If on upper floors, proceed to the Area of Refuge or stairwell;
  • Inform your supervisor, building manager, or colleague that you will remain in that place of safety and wait for assistance to be evacuated or for emergency personnel to arrive;
  • Never open doors that are too hot;
  • Request assistance with being carried down in your wheelchair or transfer to an evacuation chair if available; and
  • Report to the building's designated Emergency Assembly Point (EAP) and await further instructions.