Responsible Persons: Faculty, staff and students will be responsible for the following preplanning actions during building evacuations.

In Classroom Settings and Residence Halls:

  • Faculty should review aloud with each class the available exits, pull stations and evacuation routes in and near their classroom.  This should be accomplished within the first two weeks of classes.

  • Faculty and residence life staff should discuss with their students the need to pre-plan for emergency evacuations.  This includes the need for disabled (physically and/or cognitively) students to inform their instructor or residence life staff if assistance will be required during emergency evacuations.  It is the responsibility of Faculty to ensure that disabled students, in their classrooms, are able to safely exit the building.
  • If a student is unable to be assisted out of the building, it is the responsibility of Faculty and residence life staff to ensure that disabled students, in their classrooms or residence halls, are directed to a fire-rated stairwell.  (No one is permitted to stay in the building during an emergency situation unless they meet criteria, one through four, under Procedures.)
  • If the teaching faculty member is physically disabled, he/she will need to preplan his/her own evacuation strategy in cooperation with student or staff assistants. Residence Life Staff should follow the policy and procedures for "Other University Areas".

Other University Areas:

  • Supervisors are required to preplan evacuation procedures with disabled faculty and staff in their departments.
  • If you can safely do so, faculty, staff, and fire wardens are requested to assist a person with physical and/or cognitive disabilities. Individual departments should pre-plan who will be assisting disabled individuals.
Procedures: Whenever possible, disabled faculty, staff and students should be immediately helped out of the building to safety by assistants.
  Persons with physical disabilities are permitted to stay in a building during an emergency situation only:
  1. If they are non-ambulatory,
  2. Where elevator assistance is essential for their evacuation,
  3. If they are located either above or below the ground floor,
  4. When the below procedures are followed.
  When the Alarm Sounds:
Go to, or be directed to, a fire-rated stairwell * away from the source of the fire. (As part of the pre-planning, know who will assist the disabled individual(s) and which stairwell(s) will be used.) This person should then advise the Department of Public Safety of your location. If you do go to a stairwell, be sure to position yourself so as not to block pedestrian flow or access to the stairwell. Wait on the stair landing.

In the event the individual is unable to access a fire-rated stairwell, seek an Area of Refuge. Go to, remain in, or be directed to a room with an operable exterior window, a telephone, a solid closed door and far removed from the source of the fire or critical area. (As part of the pre-planning, know who will assist the disabled individual(s) and which room(s) will be used). During an emergency, it is recommended to hang a piece of clothing out of the window or use a flashlight at night to signal rescue personnel.

Notify the Department of Public Safety or have someone notify Public Safety for you, and advise them that you are a person with a physical disability and need assistance. (X7000 or emergency call box)

Give the exact location (building, floor and room #) and telephone number from which you are calling.

If it is safe to do so, remain by the phone. If the situation around you changes for the worse, call Public Safety back and give updates on your situation.

All other persons with disabilities must evacuate a building in an emergency situation. Persons with physical disabilities must understand that elevators cannot be used during an emergency situation.  They should evaluate the situation to see if they can leave the building in a safe fashion.  Sight and auditory impaired persons should plan assistance from individuals in their department or from other occupants in the building.

Responding Public Safety Officers and the Fire Department personnel will determine whether or not the circumstances warrant an evacuation of non-ambulatory disabled persons.  In the event of an extreme emergency, the Fire Department will be responsible for evacuating  those persons from the building.

* Fire-rated Exit Stairwell: Enclosed and separated from the rest of the building with fire-resistant walls and doors, and leads to an exit out of the building.

University of the Sciences in Philadelphia 600 South Forty-third Street Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495 phone: 215-596-8800 email: safety@usip.edu