Procedures for Individuals with Disabilities
It is the goal of Purchase College to plan for the safe and orderly evacuation of persons with disabilities during an emergency.
The college recognizes that some individuals may require assistance with alerting, evacuating, and/or sheltering-in-place in the event of an emergency. The college therefore asks all individuals who may need assistance in an emergency to self-identify with the college. Members of the college community who self-identify are encouraged to develop their own personal emergency plan that includes specific evacuation procedures and sheltering procedures. Communication devices, cell phone batteries, alerting devices, and other critical items (e.g. medications) should be placed in an emergency evacuation “to go” bag. Supportive personnel such as personal care attendants, if applicable, should be included in personal emergency plans, as well.
Special considerations may need to be made in emergency situations for individuals, including employees, students, and guests on campus with disabilities. How an individual with a disability responds to an emergency depends on the type of emergency, the specific disability, and the individual’s location on campus.
College procedures require all persons to evacuate a facility anytime the alarm system is activated or individuals are otherwise instructed to do so. Depending upon the facility and type of disability, a person with disabilities may have the following evacuation options:
- If street level, evacuate the building at the nearest exit.
- Vertical evacuation (e.g., stairway);
- Horizontal evacuation (e.g., going from one building into a connected, adjacent building on the same level, going to the opposite side of the same building);
- Proceeding to the nearest stairwell; or
- Shelter-in-place to await evacuation (e.g., office, classroom, dorm room).
Note: Elevators are never to be used in the event of an alarm or emergent event without explicit authorization by fire or police personnel.
Individuals with mobility impairments who are able to walk independently or with assistance may be able to negotiate stairs. In determining whether to attempt a stairway evacuation versus moving to the nearest stairwell and awaiting assistance, the individual should take into account the nature of the emergency, the ability of the individual to navigate the stairs, and whether the level of traffic on the stairs would impede the ability of the individual to execute a safe stairway evacuation.
Stairway evacuations of individuals who use wheelchairs may be hazardous to disabled individuals, rescuers, and others attempting to evacuate and should not be attempted by untrained personnel.
Stairwell landings can be used by those who are unable to evacuate with or without assistance. Persons with disabilities, if able, may shelter in stairwell landings, so long as they are able to do so without obstructing the flow of traffic as people exit the building.
Move away from the area of imminent danger to a safer location (e.g., to another wing, the opposite end of the corridor, the outside if on the ground level).
Stairwells are areas where persons who are unable to evacuate the building without assistance may remain temporarily to await instructions or assistance during an emergency.
When an alarm sounds, immediate evacuation is required. Individuals who require assistance evacuating the building should go to the nearest stairwell. Individuals should contact the University Police Department at 914.251.6911 during an emergency to provide them their name, location, and reason for calling. Buildings with stairwells are often designed with stairwells on both ends of each floor. Stairwell locations are posted in all campus buildings on the main floor of each building, as well as resident room doors.
All persons should acquaint themselves with the locations of stairwells in all buildings that they frequent (e.g. classroom buildings, the dining hall, student lounges).
If it is not possible to evacuate or reach a stairwell, individuals may remain in a room. Preference should be given to rooms that contain an exterior window, a telephone, and a door that is able to close. Individuals can signal from the window by waving a cloth or other visible object.
Individuals who may require assistance should contact the University Police Department at 914.251.6911 during an emergency to provide them their name, location, and reason for calling. It is also important to indicate specific evacuation needs that should be considered for evacuation. The University Police Department will notify emergency personnel of the individual’s location. Phone lines normally remain in service during most building emergencies.
Note: Emergency personnel will enter the building to evacuate individuals who require assistance as quickly as possible. Evacuation will not occur in non-emergency or drill situations.