Emergency Guidelines for Students with
Disabilities ~ View Section Statements
Butler University cannot make any guarantee or
representation that its personnel will be able to assist an
individual with a disability in the event an emergency evacuation
Students who are concerned about their ability to safely
evacuate in an emergency should utilize every precautionary measure
to help ensure their own safety. To this end, students should
review the following guidelines and procedures prior to an actual
emergency and should convey their evacuation concerns to their
instructors and all other relevant university employees. Students
must also be prepared to review their evacuation concerns with
emergency personnel during an actual emergency situation should the
need arise. Students need to familiarize themselves with campus
buildings and exits, and should seat themselves near classroom
doorways and exits whenever possible. The following guidelines
should be followed:
- Students should discuss evacuation issues early in the semester
and are encouraged to set up a buddy system for evacuation from the
classroom. For nighttime hours, a "three deep buddy system" is
recommended which involves three individuals with whom the student
is in personal relationship, in close proximity, and who are
willing to check on them in an emergency. During an evacuation
effort, students who are unable to exit a building on their own
accord should remain in an area of refuge, most generally near a
stairwell or elevator lobby. Emergency personnel will generally, as
a matter of practice, check all exit corridors and stairwells for
those who may need assistance. Students with cell phones should
pre-program their phones with the BUPD emergency phone number,
940-9999, as this number should be used to report the need for
evacuation assistance as well as the student's physical location on
campus. Students should remain calm while waiting and should
continue to loudly call for help until assistance arrives.
- Students with physical disabilities are encouraged to consider
installing a multi-layered telephone system in their residential
room to enhance their ability to contact responders in an emergency
situation (i.e., cell phone, land line phone, emergency pendant,
- Individuals who CANNOT speak loudly or who have voice/speech
impairments should carry a whistle or have other means of
attracting the attention of others. Emergency whistles are
available in Jordan Hall 136.
- All individuals should be familiar with alarm signals.
- NO ONE should re-enter an evacuated building until permitted to
do so by emergency personnel.
- Elevators should not be used in an evacuation unless instructed
to do so by emergency personnel. Elevators could fail during a
fire, earthquake, or flood.
- If an individual suspects fire is behind a door, cover the hand
to provide protection, and then test the door by touching it. If
the door is hot, it should not be used as an exit; instead, an
alternative exit should be located.
Evacuation Policy for Students with
Disabilities ~ View Section Statements
Butler University cannot make any guarantee or
representation that its personnel will be able to assist an
individual with a disability in the event an emergency evacuation
The evacuation of persons with disabilities is the
responsibility of such individuals and the University has
established this policy so that individuals with disabilities are
informed regarding evacuation guidelines. Individuals with
disabilities are advised to take every precautionary measure to
help ensure their own safety in an emergency situation.
Whenever the fire alarms/strobes sound, all occupants of the
building should evacuate the building and assemble at the
appropriate assembly points. Students with disabilities are
encouraged to evacuate the building with their class, group, or
instructor and should remain with their group at the appropriate
assembly point. In general, ELEVATORS SHOULD NOT BE USED for
evacuations. (Note: Elevators may be safe to use
during shelter-in-place instructions such as those used during
tornado or severe thunderstorm warnings. See additional information
During evacuations or fire drills, any student who is unable to
exit the building on his/her own, may either asked to be manually
carried out of the building (at his/her own risk) or may remain
near the closest stairwell. Rescue personnel will generally, as a
matter of practice, check stairwells for those who may be trapped
in the building. To contact BUPD in an emergency, use 911 when
using campus phones and 940-9999 when using a cell phone. Students
are encouraged to pre-program their cell phones with emergency
numbers for quick access in an emergency situation. Students may
also use emergency whistles (available in JH136) to whistle loudly
in order to alert rescue personnel as to their specific whereabouts
in the building. [Student Disability Services will send
appropriate evacuation information, generally each semester, to
faculty/staff regarding students with disabilities who are enrolled
in their courses, provided the student has signed a release to
allow dissemination of such material.]
THE FOLLOWING GENERAL GUIDELINES APPLY TO ALL
EMERGENCIES AND SHOULD BE FOLLOWED BY THE UNIVERSITY DESIGNATED
EVACUATION TEAM AS SOON AS AN EVACUATION HAS BEEN ORDERED:
- Consult with any individual who may have difficulty exiting the
building. Determine if the individual has a buddy system in place.
If it is apparent the individual will not be able to exit the
building without assistance (i.e., a person in a wheelchair in a
classroom on an upper floor of a building), ask the person how to
best assist BEFORE making a rescue attempt. Also ask the person if
any items should be removed from the building as well. For example,
a wheelchair should always be removed with the individual as it
will be required for the individual's immediate use upon exit from
- A wheelchair evacuation should be attempted ONLY by those who
have had rescue training. Evacuation should not be attempted by a
single individual unless necessary as a last resort.
- Call 911 if the situation is life-threatening.
- Do NOT use elevators unless authorized to do so by police or
fire personnel. Elevators could fail during a fire, earthquake, or
- If an outage occurs during the day and a student with a
disability chooses to wait in the building while electricity is
being restored, it may be helpful to move near a window where there
is natural light and access to a working telephone. During regular
building hours, building coordinators should be notified so they
can advise emergency personnel.
- If a student with a disability would prefer to leave the
building and an evacuation has been ordered, or if the outage
occurs at night, call BUPD at 9396 from a campus telephone to
request evacuation assistance.
- Some multi-button campus telephones may not operate in a power
outage, but single-line telephones and pay telephones are likely to
be operating. As soon as information is available, the campus
notification line will have a recorded message stating when power
is likely to be restored.
Another instruction, called "shelter-in-place," may be given
during a severe weather emergency such as a tornado or thunderstorm
warning. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to
shelter-in-place with their class, group, or instructor whenever
this directive is issued. Shelter-in-place generally involves
seeking shelter in the lower levels of the building. In case of
severe weather, elevators are generally considered safe for use by
a person with a disability. If it is impossible for a student with
a disabilities to move to the lower levels of the building, the
student should seek shelter in an interior room with no windows.
Students should again use their cell phone or an emergency whistle
(available in JH136) to call for rescue assistance as needed.
Implementation of Shelter-in-Place
Upon activation of the Marion County severe weather warning
system, the Butler University Police Department will notify Unit
Coordinators who will implement response plans:
- Unit emergency response team members will assist with movement
to designated shelter-in-place locations.
- Communicate clearly and succinctly.
- Give directions to the shelter-in-place locations.
Actual Shelter-in-Place Procedures
- Turn equipment off, if possible.
- Quickly shut down any hazardous operations or processes and
render them safe.
- Notify others in the unit's area of the siren if they did not
- Take emergency supplies and staff rosters, if possible.
- Secure all cash registers and safes.
- Exit the room..
- Take jackets or other clothing needed for protection from the
- Close windows and doors but do not lock doors as you
- Leave room lights on.
- If you are away from your office or classroom when the siren
sounds, you should move immediately to the shelter-in-place
location and await further instructions.
- Assist individuals with disabilities as described in the
Operational Unit Emergency Response Plan.
- Move through the building via the nearest safe exit route.
Walk, do not run.
- Keep existing groups together.
- Account for faculty, staff, students, and any visitors and sign
in at shelter-in-place point.
- Wait at shelter-in-place locations for directions.
- Do not leave until emergency staff gives the "all clear"
signal. The Butler University Police Department Communications
Center will notify the Building Emergency Coordinators when the
severe weather warning has been lifted.
Emergency situations may arise where, for the safety of
occupants, university facilities must be locked to prevent
unauthorized entry. While the intent of a facility lockdown is for
protection, at no time will emergency response team members
physically or verbally prevent someone from exiting a facility of
his or her own free will.
Implementation of a Buiilding Lockdown
Upon receiving notification for a facility lockdown, the Butler
University Police Department will notify each Unit Coordinator who
will implement response plans.
Actual Lockdown Procedures
- The building emergency coordinator will lock all entrance/exits
of assigned facility.
- Unit emergency response team members will communicate the order
for the facility lockdown to their individual units and communicate
not to leave the facility.
- Unit emergency response team members will report to
predetermined entrances/exits of the facility.
- Occupants of the facility should remain in individual offices
and classrooms until the lockdown is lifted.
- The Butler University Police Department Communications Operator
will advise the Building Emergency Coordinators when the facility
lockdown has been lifted.
Direct Emergency Response by Disability
Blindness or Visual Impairment
- Review the nature of the emergency with the student and inquire
as to the best manner in which to assist. In most cases, students
will appreciate your offering your elbow (this is the preferred
method when acting as a "Sighted Guide"). Do NOT grasp a visually
impaired person's arm.
- As you are walking, offer verbal information about location,
the route you are following, the presence of any obstacles (ie.
stairs, overhanging objects, uneven pavement, curbs, narrow
passageways). Use compass directions and estimated distances as
much as possible.
- Upon arrival at the designated Emergency Assembly Point, orient
the student as to location on campus and offer further assistance
- Some visually impaired individuals may have guide dogs who can
become disoriented or injured during an emergency. Attempt to
evaluate the dog's needs and offer assistance if possible.
- White canes and other mobility aids should NOT be left
Deafness or Hearing Loss
- Students with impaired hearing may or may not be able to hear
the audible emergency alarms, depending on the level of hearing
loss. Additionally, many structures are not equipped with visual
(flashing light) evacuation alarms. As such, a student with a
hearing impairment may not perceive that an emergency exists. An
alternative warning technique may be required. One such alternative
involves gaining attention by turning the lights on and off and
using hand gestures or a written note to describe the emergency and
the evacuation route - i.e. "Fire - go out the rear door to parking
- Ongoing visual instructions may be needed along the evacuation
route. It may be necessary to point in the direction of the exit or
use an evacuation map in order to advise of the safest evacuation
- Be advised that students with hearing impairments sometimes
have voice/speech impairments as well. As such, they may be
carrying/using a whistle or have some other means of attracting the
attention of others.
- Most students with mobility impairments will be able to safely
exit a one story building without assistance. However, students on
or above the second floor of a building will require varying levels
of evacuation assistance.
- If a student with a mobility impairment is unable to exit a
building safely, an attempt should first be made to help direct the
student into a safe area on that floor to await assistance from
emergency personnel. A safe area might include the end of the
building opposite the emergency hazard, an enclosed stairwell, or a
classroom with a closed door. It may be necessary, if possible, to
clear any existing debris from the student's path.
- In general, students with mobility impairments should NOT be
evacuated by untrained personnel. However, if a student is in
immediate danger and cannot be moved to a safer area to wait for
assistance, the situation may become urgent making it necessary to
evacuate using a carrying option or an evacuation chair (check with
building coordinator as to availability). Carrying options include
using a two-person lock-arm position or using a sturdy chair,
preferably a chair with arms. Every attempt should be made to
properly secure the student in the chair. Using a seatbelt or belt
can be useful, if available. Before making this type of rescue
attempt, always ask the student as to the preferred method of
assistance. This is essential because moving and lifting students
with certain types of disabilities can result in serious injury to
the student. Always consult the student as to preference with
- Actual method of removal from the wheelchair.
- Number of persons generally required for safe removal from the
- The advisability of lifting or moving extremities due to the
potential for pain, spasticity or due to the presence of braces,
catheter leg bags, etc.
- The need for a seat or cushion pad to be brought along after
the student has been removed from the wheelchair.
- The advisability of being carried down stairs in a forward or
- The need for after care. For example, some individuals may
require medical treatment after being removed from their
- The wheelchair should be evacuated along with the student and
should be made available to the student as soon as possible after
evacuation. A wheelchair is essential to a wheelchair user's
ongoing safety and mobility.
- If the student prefers to be moved while in their wheelchair,
attempts should be made to do so whenever possible.
- Some students with mobility impairments may also be prone to
respiratory complications and will be particularly at risk in an
emergency involving smoke or fumes. This should be considered
during evacuation and is information that should be shared with
- Police and fire personnel should be immediately notified of any
students remaining in a building as well as their locations.
Emergency personnel will evaluate whether the student is safe in
that location or whether an evacuation is necessary.
Bumping on a Series of Steps ~ View Section Statements
In situations where the wheelchair user must be carried up or
down a flight of steps, it is necessary to have a minimum of two
persons assisting. Four persons may be needed in the case of a
heavy adult. The strongest person(s) should be placed at the back
of the chair. If an assisting person has a medical condition that
prohibits lifting, it is advisable to enlist the assistance of a
- The wheelchair should be gripped by the handles on the back of
the chair. If two people are assisting, one person holds the hand
grips; the other person assists in front. If there are four people,
at least two people should assist in the back; each person gripping
one of the handles. Hand placement for those people who are
assisting in the front depends upon which parts of the wheelchair
are removable. This will need to be determined at that time of
evacuation. Be advised of the following: if the wheelchair arms are
removable, do NOT grip them. This must be stressed because it is
the first place an assisting person will be inclined to grip. If
the leg rests are removable, do NOT grip them. The persons who are
assisting in the front of the wheelchair should grip a part of the
wheelchair that is non removable, such as the front seat frame or
leg rest (if non removable).
- AVOID carrying the wheelchair up or downstairs. This can
quickly cause back trouble for those who are trying to be of
assistance. Instead, ROLL the wheelchair up or down the stairs.
Allow the wheelchair to bear its own weight.
- Keep the wheelchair slightly tilted back to keep the wheelchair
user secure; however, do not tilt too far; this may cause the
person who is assisting behind the wheelchair to bend too far
forward and could cause the person(s) to lose balance and pitch
- In general, it is always best to keep the wheelchair user
facing away from the stairs unless advised otherwise by the
Wheelchair Nomenclature ~ View Section Statements
- Wheel Locks
- Wheel and Hand rim
- Seat/Back Upholstery
The following represents the varying weights,
lengths, and widths of wheelchairs, both electric and manual, with
a person in it. The American National Standards Institute states
that doorway widths should be 32 inches.
General Operational Guide
How To Open/Fold Wheelchairs:
TO OPEN CHAIR: Tilt chair to one side, push
down on seat rails (fig 1).
TO FOLD CHAIR: Fold up the footplates, tilt
chair to one side, lift upward on seat rail or on upholstery next
to seat rail. For chairs with detachable or offset arms (fig.2),
fold by lifting carrying straps.
Figure 3. When folding the wheelchair be sure
the foot plates are all the way up against the leg frames.
Curbs and Single Steps:
There are generally two methods which can be used to assist a
person in a wheelchair over a curb or single step. The wheelchair
can be rolled down off the curb or the step, backwards or forwards.
The method used depends upon the preference of the user, the
environmental situation, the strength of the assisting person, and
the confidence the wheelchair user has in the assistant. As in all
activities, if the wheelchair user does not have sitting balance, a
seat belt should be attached to the wheelchair and used.
- Just before reaching the edge of the curb or step turn the
wheelchair around so that it is facing away from the edge.
- Holding tightly to the handles, back the wheelchair down off
the curb. Let the rear wheels roll down over the edge. Additional
support can be furnished by pressing a hip against the back of the
chair as it comes off of the edge. (See figure 4.)
- To prevent the front wheels coming down with a jar that could
throw the wheelchair user out of the chair, press a foot on the
anti-tipping bar as the chair is backed away from the curb. Then
gently lower the front wheels to the ground.
- Turn the wheelchair around, being careful not to clip the ankle
of a passer-by and proceed on your way.
The least taxing method on the assisting person and usually the
safest for the wheelchair user, is to turn the wheelchair around
until it can be rolled off the step or curb backwards.
Figure 4. When the wheelchair is being rolled backwards off a
curb, support it by lightly pressing against it.
- As the curb is approached, place one foot on the anti-tipping
bar and tip the wheelchair back on the large wheels. This keeps the
wheelchair user securely in the chair as the chair rolls off the
edge. The assisting person should not be supporting the weight of
the wheelchair user, but just keep the wheelchair balanced on the
- Once the front wheels are up, remove the foot from the
anti-tipping bar. Continue rolling the wheelchair off the edge with
the front wheels up.
- After the large wheels are off the edge, allow the front wheels
to drop down gently by pressing a foot on the anti-tipping bar as
the wheels come down.
This method is effective if the assisting person is
experienced in handling wheelchairs. It is most useful on
crowded street corners and places where the wheelchair can not be
turned around to go off an edge backwards. The wheelchair user
should have on a safety belt or be holding to the chair to prevent
being thrown forward out of the wheelchair.
Rolling on the Rear Wheels:
Can be used to roll the wheelchair over the following types of
terrain: going over railroad tracks and grates embedded in the
street or sidewalks; soft lawns, sand, snow, etc., even deep-pile
carpets. These types of terrain tend to throw the front wheels
aside or cause them to sink in, making the progress difficult if
not impossible. Lifting the front wheels of the surface
gives the assisting person more control over the
If the assisting person is not strong enough (although it
actually takes little physical strength if the wheelchair is kept
balanced) or doesn't feel confident, it is advisable to turn the
wheelchair around and go backwards over rough terrain. This also
puts the front wheels out of the way as they are following rather
than guiding the wheelchair. Remember not to tilt the chair too far
Methods of Assistance ~ View Section Statements
Two handed chair carry
Pack strap carry
Carry by extremities
Each bearer grasps one of his wrists and one of the other bearer's
wrists, thus forming a packsaddle.