An evacuation can take place for many reasons. It is important that evacuation orders are conducted in an orderly manner for everyone’s safety.
- During an evacuation, avoid taking elevators and determine in advance the nearest exit from your work locations and the most direct route to follow to reach that exit in an emergency.
- Whenever the fire alarms/strobes are activated, occupants must evacuate the building and reassemble at their designated assembly point. Occupants on floors above the ground floor must use emergency exit stairwells to leave the building. Do not use elevators! Persons requiring special assistance should gather at those designated locations.
- For certain emergencies such as a bomb threat or a natural gas leak, the fire alarms/strobes may not be activated. Instead, Safety Marshals will move through the building and order the occupants to evacuate.
During an evacuation
- If time and conditions permit, secure your workplace and take your important personal items such as car keys, purse, medication, glasses, etc.
- Follow instructions from emergency personnel
- Check doors for heat before opening. Do not open the door if it’s hot
- Walk, do not run. Don’t push or crowd
- Keep noise to a minimum so you can hear emergency instructions
- Use handrails in stairwells; stay to the right
- Assist people with disabilities
- Move to the assembly point location
- At the assembly point, contact your direct manager for a welfare check
Outside the building
- Move quickly away from the building
- Watch for falling glass and other debris
- Stay with your building safety coordinator
- Keep roadways and walkways clear for emergency vehicles
- If you have relocated away from the building, do not return until notified by authorities that it is safe
Persons using crutches, canes, or walkers:
In emergency evacuations, these individuals should be treated as if they were injured. Have the individual sit on a sturdy chair, preferably a chair with arms, and follow the procedure for non-ambulatory persons discussed below.
Evacuation may not be necessary or advisable. Many stairwells are designed to provide temporary protection from fire or other dangers. An able-bodied volunteer shall stay with a wheelchair user on the stairwell platform while a second person notifies emergency personnel or paramedics of the exact location of the wheelchair user. If immediate evacuation is necessary, be aware of the following considerations:
- Wheelchairs have movable parts; some are not designed to withstand stress or lifting.
- You may need to remove the chair batteries; life-support equipment may be attached.
- In a life-threatening emergency, it may be necessary to remove an individual from their wheelchair. Use caution, as lifting persons with restricted mobility may cause them bodily harm or injury.
- Wheelchairs should not be used to descend stairwells. Use an emergency evacuation chair.
- Non-ambulatory persons may have respiratory complications. Take them to a location away from smoke or fumes. Ask them if they have any needs or preferences.
- Delegate other volunteers to collect the wheelchair.
- Return the person to their wheelchair as soon as it is safe to do so.
Most visually impaired persons shall be familiar with their immediate work area. In an emergency situation, describe the nature of the emergency and offer to act as a “sighted guide.” Offer your elbow and escort them to a safe place. As you walk, describe where you are and advise them of any obstacles. When you have reached safety, orient the person as to where you are and ask if any further assistance is needed.
Because persons with impaired hearing may not hear emergency alarms, alternative warning techniques are required. Two methods are:
- Write a note describing the emergency and nearest evacuation route
- Turn the light switch off and on to get their attention, then indicate with gestures what is happening and what to do.