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Emergency Prepardness for Individuals with Disabilities

  • Turn lights on and/or off to gain the individual's attention.
  • Indicate directions with gestures.
  • Write a note with evacuation directions.
  • Announce the type of emergency.
  • Offer an arm for guidance.
  • Tell the individual where they are going and of any obstacles they may encounter.
  • When reaching safety, ask if further help is needed.

It is the responsibility of a person with a mobility impairment to plan ahead for emergency situations which could involve evacuations. In many emergency situations, lighting can become obscure or obsolete and elevators and telephones may not be operable.

Consider the following when planning for emergency evacuation:

  • Plan ahead. If elevators are not operating during an emergency, critical time can be saved by making evacuation arrangements with supervisors in the building in advance. Emergency personnel will need to know what measures or equipment are required for evacuation and advanced planning may expedite and secure a safe evacuation.
  • For many buildings a stairwell is a safe area in which to wait for emergency personnel if stairs or elevators cannot be accessed; however, in some buildings, the stairwell acts as a chimney, fostering smoke and flames. For specific information about areas of rescue, contact the building coordinator for the building you occupy.
  • If the building is evacuated in response to a fire or similar emergency, all personnel are to report to the predesignated assembly point. At the assembly point, supervisors account for personnel and report any that are unaccounted for to the Virginia Tech Police Deparment and/or the fire department.
  • Evacuate these individuals as injured persons.
  • Assist and accompany to evacuation site if possible.
  • Use a sturdy chair (or one with wheels) to move the individual.
  • Help carry the individual to safety.
  • Contact the appropriate rescue person by calling 911 or a trained emergency personnel.
  • Determine if other employees can move the individual safely.
  • Non-ambulatory individuals' needs and preferences vary. Individuals at ground floor locations may exit without help. Others may have minimal ability to move. Lifting these individuals may be dangerous to those lifting or those being lifted. Do not attempt to lift a non-ambulatory individual without specific training.
  • Some non-ambulatory individuals have respiratory complications. Remove them from smoke and vapors immediately. Wheelchair users with electrical respirators should get priority assistance.

In case of a medical emergency, notify the Virginia Tech Police Department of the location, nature, and extent of the injury by calling 911 from a safe location.

  • Protect the victim from further injury by removing any persistent threat to the victim.
  • Do not move the victim unnecessarily.
  • If you have the appropriate training and it is safe to do so, provide first aid until help arrives.
  • If possible, send someone outside to escort emergency responders to the appropriate location.

Workshops and Trainings

General Resources

Virginia Tech is committed to equal access and opportunity for all students, employees, and visitors to our campus. The university provides dedicated resources to assist those with disabilities and to address barriers to access, both physical and digital. Below are links to assist students, employees, and visitors.

Virginia Tech has created a universal campus access map that shows the most accessible routes on campus, including current accessible parking spaces, accessible building entrances, and elevator/wheelchair lifts.

The following link will take you to the online interactive campus map. Once there, select Accessibility from the Layers menu.

Virginia Tech is committed to producing inclusive media for faculty, staff, students, and all audiences who consume video content via our digital platforms. Services to provide live, synchronous captions and post-production captions are available to the university community.

The Directory of Qualified Interpreters provides a quick and easy way for anyone to locate a qualified sign language interpreter in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Review the current Directory listings, tips for using the Directory, and, for qualified interpreters.

Accessible parking spaces on campus are exclusively for those persons displaying state-authorized Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) disabled placards or plates.  Please review the resources found below regarding parking for additional informaiton.