Disability Services

Handling Emergencies

There may be an occasion when a student's condition needs immediate intervention in the classroom. In major emergencies such as heart attack, the instructor may determine the need to call 911, because minutes are precious in saving a life.

However, in minor emergencies, such as most seizure incidents and insulin reaction which usually do not require an ambulance, the Campus Police will make the decision regarding the call for emergency assistance. Should a situation arise, call or send a student immediately to the Campus Police. Give the building name, room number and description of the emergency.

Intervention Techniques

Until emergency medical personnel are on the scene, there are some intervention techniques that should be started. For heart attacks, CPR treatment should be started immediately if the person is not breathing.

Such emergencies are rare, but it is best to be prepared, remain calm, and know what to do if and when the need arises. There are 4 AEDs on campus. Each police car carries one and there is one in the gym. There are individuals located around the campus who know how to use the AED.

Building Evacuation

The Office of Disability Services informs students with disabilities that no one can look out for their well being as well as they can themselves. Therefore, students with disabilities have been told that they are responsible for locating and remembering the important parts of each building they are in, including stairways, exits, phone locations, and elevator procedures.

Students have been instructed to assume responsibility for asking several persons, including their instructor, to assist them if emergency evacuation becomes necessary. Procedures for emergency evacuation should be discussed between faculty and student ahead of time.

Students with Limited Mobility

Students with mobility limitations provide the greatest concern when considering building evacuation since elevators should not be operated during a fire. If there is no immediate danger (obvious smoke or fire), the general procedure is for a student with mobility limitations to stay in place or be moved to a set of external stairs until emergency personnel determine the nature of the situation.

Someone should be designated to remain with the student while the faculty member meets emergency personnel and informs them of the student's location. It is extremely important that the student not be moved unnecessarily and improperly, to prevent physical injury.

Naturally, if there is imminent danger and evacuation cannot be delayed, the student with the disability should be carried or helped from the building in the most expedient manner. The student with the disability is the best authority as to how to be moved out of the building. The best procedure is to let professional emergency personnel assist in the evacuation of these students.

Students with Visual Impairments or Who are Blind

Most students with visual impairments will be familiar with the immediate surroundings at the college. In the event of an emergency, tell the student specifically how and where to exit. Have the student take your elbow and escort him or her (this method is preferred when acting as a "sighted guide"). As you walk, tell the person where you are and advise him or her of any obstacles. When you have reached safety, orient the person to where he or she is and ask if any further assistance is needed.

Students with Hearing Impairment or Who are Deaf

Since persons with impaired hearing may not perceive audio emergency alarms, an alternative warning technique is required. Two methods of warning are the following:

  1. Write a note telling what the emergency is and the nearest evacuation route. (Example: "Fire - go out rear door to right and down. Now!")
  2. Turn the light switch on and off to gain attention, and then indicate through gestures or in writing what is happening and how to proceed.

If an interpreter is with the student the interpreter will be responsible for interpreting instructions. You should escort the student with a hearing impairment as you leave the building.


When there is a fire, fire drill or emergency and a student who uses a wheelchair is on the 2nd floor there are some specific procedures that need to be followed. It depends on the building you are in as to which procedure should be used.

Buildings A and B 

The library has two "carriers" similar to those used by emergency teams. The library staff and Learning Lab staff have been trained in how to handle evacuations. The student should be put in the carrier and taken down one of the back emergency exits. The carriers are designed for two or four persons to carry. Someone should be assigned to put the wheelchair in the elevator and push the 1st floor button and then leave the building. Another person should be assigned to get the wheelchair out of the elevator on the 1st floor and take it to the exit where the student is waiting. The student can then return to his/her wheelchair.

Buildings C and D 

The instructor should call Campus Police if a phone is accessible. If the instructor can not get to a phone, he/she should send a student immediately to Campus Police. Campus Police will then dispatch an officer and patrol car. Carriers, similar to those used by emergency teams, are available in the trunk of the patrol cars. The officers will then assist in putting the student in the carrier and taking the student down an outside exit. A person should be assigned to put the wheelchair in the elevator and push the 1st floor button and then leave the 2nd floor. Another person should be assigned to meet the elevator on the 1st floor and take the wheelchair to the exit where the student is waiting. The student can then return to his/her wheelchair.

Additional Evacuation Considerations

  • Some students who use wheelchairs may have electric artificial respirators attached. These persons should be given priority assistance if smoke or fumes are present, since their ability to breathe will be seriously jeopardized.
  • If the wheelchair is left behind, remove it from the top of the stairs and leave it where it does not block exits or students.
  • Remove the batteries from a power wheelchair before attempting to transport it. Make sure that the foot rests are locked and the motor is off.
  • It is suggested that more than one person be responsible for carrying a student to safety. This does not mean only one person will actually do the lifting and carrying, but rather only one is responsible for the organization of the evacuation.

Automated External Defibrillators

There are Automated External Defibrillators (AED) located in campus police patrol cars. If someone suspects a cardiac emergency, immediately call extension 3700. There is also an AED located in the Fitness Center office as well as the locations shown in the AED Locations document.