Emergency Evacuation Procedures for Persons with Disabilities
The following document outlines procedures for alerting, evacuating, or sheltering persons with disabilities located on the SUNY Geneseo campus during an emergency. The College community has a responsibility to facilitate the safe evacuation and sheltering of persons with disabilities by adhering to the following guidelines.
The College recognizes that individuals with disabilities may require assistance with alerting, evacuating, and sheltering in the event of an emergency. The College therefore asks all individuals who may need assistance in an emergency to self-identify to the College. Once an individual has self-identified, the College shall work with the individual to develop a personal emergency plan that includes specific evacuation procedures, sheltering procedures, and means of communication in the event of an emergency. The College is also committed to training its employees to identify and assist persons who may need assistance in an emergency.
Authority and Responsibility
Director of Affirmative Action/Americans with Disability Act (ADA) Coordinator is responsible to:
- Collect information electronically submitted for the Self-Identification Questionnaire from SUNY Geneseo employees;
- Provide to staff a copy of the emergency evacuation procedure and the method to self- identify as a person needing assistance during an emergency;
- Ensure that all new employees receive training on the emergency evacuation procedures and are thoroughly informed of their responsibility to self-identify;
- Provide student information, when received, to the Assistant Dean of Accessibility;
- Work with individuals who have submitted the confidential Self-Identification Questionnaire to develop a personal emergency plan with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety that includes specific evacuation procedures, sheltering procedures, and means of communication in the event of an emergency;
- Work with the Assistant Dean of Accessibility, on an semester basis, to ensure that personal emergency plan participants (e.g., SUNY Geneseo University Police Department, Residence Life staff, etc. ) receive a briefing regarding specific self-identifying individuals requiring assistance. This is performed every semester, as schedules are expected to change;
- Obtain a list of individuals from the Assistant Dean of Accessibility who are currently enrolled and have a Personal Emergency Plan in place, at the beginning of each academic semester, to ensure file accuracy with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety;
- The Director of Affirmative Action/ADA Coordinator shall provide a list of the self-identified individuals by January 31st and September 8th of each year to the Director of Environmental Health and Safety, and the Chief of University Police.
Assistant Dean of Accessibility is responsible to:
- Collect information electronically submitted for Self-Identification Questionnaire from SUNY Geneseo students;
- Provide students a copy of the emergency evacuation procedure and the method to self-identify as a person needing assistance during an emergency;
- Ensure that all new students with disabilities receive training on the emergency evacuation procedures and are thoroughly informed of their responsibility to self-identify;
- Provide staff information, when received, to the Director of Affirmative Action/ADA Coordinator; and
- Notify the Director of Residence Life if the student resides in College housing;
- Assistant Dean of Accessibility shall provide a list of the self-identified individuals by January 31st and September 8th of each year to the Director of Affirmative Action/ADA Coordinator, the Director of Environmental Health and Safety, and the Chief of University Police.
Self-Identification with the College
At the beginning of each academic semester, the Director of Affirmative Action shall ask all faculty, staff and the Assistant Dean of Accessibility Services will ask all students, if they will require assistance in an emergency. Self-identification is voluntary. The purpose of the request is to gather information to assist in alerting, evacuating, or sheltering individuals in case of an emergency.
It is the responsibility of the individual who believes that they may need assistance during an emergency to complete the online confidential Self-Identification Questionnaire. Environmental Health and Safety, Student and Campus Life, the Assistant Dean of Accessibility, and the Director of Affirmative Action/ADA Coordinator can help individuals locate the Questionnaire and address questions that arise while completing the form.
All employees, including faculty, other academic personnel, and staff shall return the Self-Identification Questionnaire to:
Director of Affirmative Action/ADA Coordinator
Once an employee submits the online Questionnaire, information is forwarded to the Director of Affirmative Action/ADA Coordinator. Thereafter, the Director of Affirmative Action/ADA Coordinator shall forward such information to the Assistant Dean of Accessibility, the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, and the Chief of University Police.
All students shall return the Self-Identification Questionnaire to:
Assistant Dean of Accessibility
Office of Accessibility Services
Erwin Hall 22
Once a student submits the online Questionnaire, information is forwarded to the Assistant Dean of Accessibility. Thereafter, the Assistant Dean of Accessibility shall forward such information to the Director of Affirmative Action/ADA Coordinator, the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, the Chief of University Police and, if the student resides in College housing, the Director of Residence Life.
It shall be the sole responsibility of any individual requiring assistance to update his or her self-identification information:
- Each semester, no later than September 8th, of the Fall semester; January 31st, of the Spring Semester, or June 1st, for all summer sessions; or
- Whenever circumstances warrant an update (e.g., changes in a condition that would require a change in assistance).
Personal Emergency Plans
Once an individual submits a Self-Identification Questionnaire, the Department of Environmental Health and Safety together with either the Assistant Dean of Accessibility or the Director of Affirmative Action/ADA Coordinator, will work with the individual, his or her supervisor, the Director of Residence Life (if applicable), and the relevant residential Area Coordinator (if applicable), to develop a personal emergency plan that includes specific evacuation procedures, sheltering procedures, and means of communication in the event of an emergency. This plan shall include:
Identifying the safest area located on each floor within the building to which a person with disabilities can be moved or directed to await assistance from emergency response personnel; and
Designating a means to inform emergency response personnel (e.g., police, fire) of the locations of any person(s) requiring assistance.
A copy of all personal emergency plans shall be located in the Knox Box for each building the individual is reasonably expected to routinely occupy (e.g., classroom, residence hall).
Communication and Alerting Procedures
Before an Emergency Occurs
The College strongly recommends all employees and students register with NY-Alert, the College’s electronic emergency-notification system. This system enables College officials to reach members of the College community by rapidly transmitting short notifications by email to any outside email address, by text message to a cell phone, by fax, or by voice message to an off-campus telephone or cell phone.
For employees or students who have not yet subscribed to NY-Alert, please visit the NY-Alert registration page.
Log in using your Geneseo ID and password, and then follow the instructions accordingly. If you have any questions, please contact the CIT Help Desk at 5588, as soon as possible to enter your contact information.
It is vital that individuals who require a non-auditory “alert” submit a Self-Identification Questionnaire and sign up for NY-Alert. Those individuals with hearing impairments residing in campus housing are also urged to self-identify for the purpose of securing visual alarms to alert the individual in the event of an emergency.
Any person with a disability who will need assistance during an emergency evacuation and might be in a building after regular work hours, or at times when others are not usually present, should also strongly consider notifying the University Police Department of their location including the building, floor, room, and time of arrival and departure.
During an Emergency
Individuals with hearing impairments may be unable to obtain necessary evacuation information from standard auditory fire alarms or public address systems. As a consequence, these individuals may need to be alerted and given further instruction in emergency situations by others. Individuals with visual impairments may need help negotiating unfamiliar routes during an emergency evacuation and alerting these individuals to the emergency situation.
If forced to stay in place during an emergency, the person with a disability should attempt to contact the University Police Department at (585) 245-5222 or 911 to notify them of his or her location in addition to asking others who are evacuating to alert the University Police Department. The University Police Department shall then dispatch an officer to the location to assist with the evacuation. Please stay on the line with the dispatcher until the University Police Department arrives.
It is strongly recommended that persons with disabilities acquire additional alerting devices to draw attention to themselves during an emergency. Cell phones or loud whistles are effective tools for drawing attention or for contacting emergency personnel.
Personal emergency plans shall serve to assist in the safety of individuals with disabilities. The following provides further guidance for emergency procedures for persons with disabilities. However, this information is not meant to replace the proper planning and training included in a personal emergency plan.
College procedures require all persons, including those with disabilities, to evacuate a facility anytime the fire alarm system is activated or otherwise instructed to do so. Depending upon the facility and type of disability, a person with disabilities may have the following evacuation options:
- Horizontal evacuation (e.g., going from one building into a connected, adjacent building on the same level);
- Vertical (e.g., stairway) evacuation;
- Proceeding to an Area of Rescue Assistance to await evacuation; or
- Staying in place to await evacuation (e.g., office, classroom).
Note: Elevators are never to be used in the event of a fire without explicit authorization by fire or police personnel. Further, stairway evacuations of individuals who use wheelchairs may be hazardous to disabled individuals, rescuers, and others attempting to evacuate and should not be attempted by untrained personnel. Individuals with mobility impairments who are able to walk independently or with assistance may be able to negotiate stairs. However, if danger is imminent, the individual should wait until heavy traffic has cleared before attempting the stairs.
Move to an Area of Rescue Assistance
Individuals with mobility impairments may not be able to exit a building without help from fire, police, or other emergency personnel. Persons who are unable to evacuate should await evacuation assistance in designated rescue locations such as an Area of Rescue Assistance.
Individuals who have self-identified shall be notified of any Areas of Rescue Assistance in buildings they may occupy or frequent, and they should acquaint themselves with the locations of these areas in other campus buildings. A Master List of Areas of Rescue Assistance shall be located on the website for Environmental Health and Safety. Environmental Health and Safety shall update this information annually or as needed.
Stay in Place
In circumstances where evacuation is not possible and relocation to an Area of Rescue Assistance is not practical (e.g., pathway impeded), it is recommended that a person with a disability stay in place (e.g., office, residence hall room). It is the responsibility of every member of the College community to immediately communicate to the University Police Department and emergency personnel the location of individuals unable to evacuate. In addition, the person with disabilities should be reminded to telephone University Police Department immediately to further ensure that on-site emergency personnel will receive the information as soon as possible.
All College departments can call the Director of Environmental Health and Safety to obtain fire safety and emergency evacuation training. Students shall receive fire safety and evacuation information during orientation. All College employees and students are required to participate in fire drills. Practice should instill confidence in one’s ability to cope in an emergency while ensuring that appropriate lifesaving actions will be taken during a real emergency. Practice consists of walk-through procedures, announced drills, or unannounced drills.
The College is required by law to keep all medical information confidential. However, emergency, safety personnel, and other College 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.
Contact Information and Emergency Numbers
Police, Fire, and Ambulance Assistance
From any College phone: 5222 or 911
From any Non-College phone: 585-245-5222 or 911
Assistant Dean of Accessibility
Director of Environmental Health and Safety
Environmental Health & Safety
Clark Service Building, Room 118
Director of Affirmative Action/ADA Coordinator
Area of rescue assistance is an area where persons unable to use stairways can remain temporarily to await instructions or assistance during an emergency.