Emergency Evacuation for Non-ambulatory Disabled Individuals
Each facility must have an Emergency Evacuation Plan for the evacuation of individuals from a facility in case of emergency. The Plan must incorporate procedures for individuals who are unable to use stairs and who might be on floors above or below the level of exit discharge. There needs to be a detailed plan for the safe evacuation of non-ambulatory individuals.
In an emergency, non-ambulatory personnel should be evacuated to one of the following:
- A “Fire Rescue Area” if the building has a supervised automated sprinkler system; or
- An “Area of Rescue Assistance”.
A third alternative is to safely evacuate non-ambulatory personnel to an area outside the building that is consistent with the procedures for evacuation of the general school population if that is feasible.
Detailed procedures must be developed and disseminated to staff for the safe evacuation of those individuals. ‘Fire Rescue Areas’ can be determined for sprinkler-equipped buildings, which are designated areas where those who are not ambulatory can safely remain until they are evacuated. ’Areas of Rescue Assistance’ have specific fire and smoke resistive specifications that must be met, a two-way communication requirement, and is location-specific.
The detailed Emergency Evacuation Plan should be developed with input from school administration, parents, and county officials, including the local fire department. The fire department must have knowledge of where the ‘Areas of Rescue Assistance’ and/or “Fire Rescue Areas’ are located as well as other key information (entrances, elevators, machine rooms, etc.).
Note: Carrying an Individual is Not Acceptable: Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act states: “The Department (USDOE) wishes to clarify that, consistent with longstanding interpretation of Section 504, carrying an individual with a disability is considered an ineffective and therefore an unacceptable method for achieving program accessibility. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Office for Civil Rights, Policy Interpretation No.4, 43 Fed Reg. 36035 (August 14, 1978). Carrying will be permitted only in manifestly exceptional cases, and only if all personnel who are permitted to participate in carrying an individual with a disability are formally instructed on the safest and least humiliating means of carrying. ‘Manifestly exceptional’ cases in which carrying would be permitted might include, for example, programs conducted in unique facilities, such as an oceanographic vessel, for which structural changes and devices necessary to adapt the facility for use by individuals with mobility impairments are unavailable or prohibitively expensive. Carrying is not permitted as an alternative to structural modifications such as installation of a ramp or chair-lift.”
See the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, especially §3.5, Definitions; and §4.3.11, Areas of Rescue Assistance for further information. www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adastd94.pdf