Emergency Guidelines for Students with Disabilities

Students with concerns about their ability to safely evacuate in an emergency because of a disability are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the evacuation process for any venue they enter. The University recognizes that individuals with disabilities may require assistance with alerting, evacuating, and sheltering in the event of an emergency. The safety of all of our students is important during emergencies and therefore we want students with disabilities to be fully aware of our evacuation policies and assistance provided by University representatives.
The following guidelines have been adopted by the University to assist in planning for the evacuation of people with disabilities that might impact their ability to evacuate. Every person needs to take responsibility for preparing for emergencies. People with disabilities should consider what they would do and whether they need to take additional steps to prepare. People with mobility or other concerns that would make independent evacuation difficult are encouraged to connect with Student Disability Services (SDS) to initiate an individualized emergency plan in addition to making alternative emergency evacuation plans since, while emergency personnel are usually available to assist with evacuation, this may not always be the case. Every individual should become familiar with the area by locating exits, stairwells, elevators, fire alarms, and possible areas of rescue. Although assistance is available, it is important that all students take responsibility for their own safety by engaging in all the above preparations.
Make Appropriate Plans Before an Emergency Occurs
Students are strongly advised to sign up for Dawg Alert to receive timely notices via phone call, text, and/or email in the event of an emergency. Instructions for Dawg Alert signup are located on the BUPD webpage. Students with evacuation concerns are also strongly advised to review the following guidelines and procedures prior to an actual emergency. Students must also be prepared to review their evacuation concerns with emergency personnel during an actual emergency should the need arise. Students should familiarize themselves with campus buildings and exits, particularly building rally points and shelter in place locations. Individual classrooms each also have physical Emergency Procedure and Rally Point placards posted. Students may want to consider seating themselves near classroom doorways and exits for ease of evacuation. Finally, students should save the BUPD emergency phone number (317-940-9999) to their cell phones to assist in quick contact in the event of an emergency. Students are advised to call BUPD directly first; dialing 911 will direct them to Indianapolis emergency services, which may not be able to get to the location as quickly as BUPD officers.
Any student with concerns that a disability may impact the student’s ability to safely and promptly evacuate a building in the event of an emergency evacuation are urged to register with Student Disability Services (SDS) for assistance in developing an individualized evacuation plan. It is the student’s responsibility to identify and plan with SDS, utilize the available resources, and make themselves aware of the policies and procedures to follow in the event of an emergency. Once an individual has self-identified, SDS will work with the student to develop an emergency evacuation plan that includes specific evacuation procedures, sheltering procedures, and means of communication in the event of an emergency. Students with hearing impairments residing in campus housing are also urged to register with SDS for the purpose of securing visual strobe alarms in their housing units to alert them in the event of an emergency. Please note, all students who register with SDS are asked whether they have emergency evacuation concerns and sign an Emergency Evacuation Form.
The University is required by law to keep all medical information confidential. However, with student permission, emergency, safety personnel, and other University representatives may be informed if an individual with a disability might require help with alerting, evacuating, or sheltering during an emergency. The information shared with such personnel shall be limited to information necessary to help alert, evacuate, or shelter the disabled individual during an emergency.
Specific medical information will remain confidential, but pertinent information, including individual evacuation plans, are shared with relevant university professionals and with the student at the start of each semester. Emergency evacuation plans may include information about the student’s course schedule and locations, residential location and room number (if on-campus resident), cell phone number, and specific evacuation concerns. SDS encourages students to frequently update their individualized evacuation plan to include the specific buildings that a student is expected to regularly occupy (residence hall location and classroom locations). SDS can prepare an Accommodation Letter for you to submit to faculty regarding your accommodation needs. SDS may also speak with your faculty about how the accommodation can be implemented. SDS will never discuss or disclose a student’s medical condition without the student’s written permission.
Students with evacuation needs and who have registered with SDS receive a copy of this policy and their specific evacuation information via email at the start of each semester. It is the responsibility of the student to review these documents each semester and inform SDS of any changes in needs. Students with daytime evacuation concerns that are indicated on their SDS Accommodation letter should also review the evacuation statement on their letter at the start of each semester. Students receive an electronic copy of their letter in a separate email communication at the start of each semester. In all cases, students with disability-related evacuation concerns are strongly encouraged to review all evacuation-related materials each semester. Any student with a question or concern about their individualized evacuation plan should reach out to SDS directly for individualized discussion.
During an Emergency
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. When possible, students should leave the building via the nearest/safest exit.
Emergency, safety personnel, and other University representatives with access to students’ individual evacuation plans should refer to them if an emergency occurs in their building or area to determine whether a student with an evacuation need is likely to be present in that area. The variable nature and exigent circumstances inherent in emergencies may make it impossible to refer to plans. While every effort will be made to utilize plans, in the event of an emergency the University cannot guarantee any single plan can be followed. As noted above, students are advised to plan ahead for emergencies to the extent possible.
In the event that a student is unable to exit independently during an emergency evacuation, if safe to do so, the student should move as close as possible to the nearest building exit or exitstairwell and immediately call BUPD to provide information on their specific physical location. The student should remain on the line with the dispatcher until BUPD arrives.
BUPD and other first responders have access to and are trained on the use of emergency evacuation equipment specifically designed to assist wheelchair users or others who are not able to physically evacuate themselves. A wheelchair evacuation should be attempted only by those who have had rescue training. Evacuation should not be attempted by a singular person unless necessary as a last resort.
Once outside the building, students should immediately go to their established Rally Point or follow the direction of Public Safety or University Officials. Students should never re-enter an evacuated building until permitted to do so by emergency personnel.
Important numbers to remember:
BUPD Emergency: 317-940-9999
BUPD Non-Emergency: 317-940-9396
Indianapolis Emergency Services: 911
****Remember to contact BUPD immediately if you need help evacuating a building****