Evacuation and Relocation 

Transportation of persons shall be coordinated with appropriate Department of Public Safety and Parking & Transportation personnel for the purpose of evacuation and relocation of persons threatened by or displaced by the incident.  A temporary shelter or facility such as Burge Hall, the Iowa Memorial Union, the Field House, or Carver Hawkeye Arena will be selected if needed.  Coordination for assistance, equipment, and supplies will be determined at the relocation site as needed.  

The primary responsibility for the protection of property, assessment of damage, and restoration of normal operations shall be given to the appropriate University service unit.  These University service units will include:

  • Facilities Management: Coordinates all services for the restoration of electrical, plumbing, heating, and other support systems as well as environmental enclosure and structural integrity.  Assesses damage and makes a prognosis for occupancy of the structure affected by the disaster.  
  • Information Technology Services: Coordinates support for data processing resources at the main data center and the designated recovery sites; provides alternate voice and data communications capability in the event normal telecommunication lines and equipment are disrupted by the disaster.  Evaluates the requirements and selects appropriate means of backing up the ITS telecommunications network.
  • Department of Public Safety: Provides safety and security for people and facilities, as well as emergency support to affected areas, and notification mechanisms for problems that are or could be disasters.  Extends a security perimeter around the functional area affected by the disaster.  

Evacuation/Rescue Plan for Persons with Disabilities

Even though emergency personnel are usually available to assist with evacuation, this may not always be the case. People with concerns that would make independent evacuation difficult are encouraged to make alternative plans and arrangements in advance which will increase the likelihood that individuals will be able to exit a building safely in the event of an emergency. Check to see if your building has a staff member serving in the role of Building Coordinator. Individuals are encouraged to discuss evacuation/rescue needs with the Building Coordinator if applicable.

Every individual must quickly become familiar with their area by locating exits, stairwells, elevators, firefighting equipment, fire alarms, and possible areas of rescue.

NOTE: Possible areas of rescue can be in a stairwell/fire escape, areas adjacent to a stairwell or fire escape, a window facing the outside or a room within the structure; attempt to select a room with a phone. It is understood that older structures may not have adequate landings within the stairwells to accommodate wheelchairs. Individuals are encouraged to use protected stairwells for exiting if possible.

Those who have difficulty speaking or those with hearing impairments who have difficulty judging volume are encouraged to carry a whistle or a similar device for the purpose of announcing your location to emergency services personnel conducting rescue searches and to carry personal cell phones to contact emergency services personnel. If assistance is needed, call University Public Safety by phoning 319-335-5022.

NOTE: When calling a university number from a cell phone you must press all seven digits. Depending on your phone service you may also have to include the area code. In case of an emergency, press 911. Be prepared to give your name, your building, floor and location, the reason why you are calling and your particular needs.

Advise others (supervisors, administrators, instructors, colleagues, fellow students) about any concerns that you may have related to emergency exiting and how they can assist you in the event of an emergency. This can include assistance in exiting a building, assistance to areas of rescue and alerting emergency services of your location. (For exiting concerns related to tornadoes or bomb threats, see Bomb Threat and Tornado sections).

Assisting Those with Disabilities, Evacuation Guidelines  

It is recommended that each Department establish a “buddy” system in which volunteers and alternates are recruited and paired with persons who have known disabilities that would create special evacuation needs.  Volunteers should become familiar with the special evacuation needs of their buddies and plan to alert and assist them if an evacuation is ordered.  Volunteers should keep in mind that many people with disabilities can assist in their evacuation.

People With Visual Disablity

In the event of an emergency tell the person the nature of the emergency and offer to guide him/her.  As you walk, tell the person where you are and advise of any obstacles.  Do not grasp a visually impaired person’s arm.  Offer your arm for guidance.

People With Hearing Disability

Persons with impaired hearing may not perceive emergency alarms and an alternative warning technique is required.  Two methods of warning are:

  • Writing a note telling what the emergency is and the nearest evacuation route/safe staging area.
  • Tapping the person on the shoulder or turning the light switch on and off to gain attention, then indicating through gestures, or in writing, what is happening and what to do.

    NOTE: Most modern fire alarm systems are equipped with flashing lights to alert people with hearing impairments.

People Using Crutches, Canes, or Walkers 

If the person is having difficulty exiting quickly, treat him/her as if injured for evacuation purposes.  Carrying options include using a two-person, lock-arm position, having the person sit in a sturdy chair, preferably with arms; some buildings have evacuation chairs specific for stairway travel (familiarization with these chairs is advised). For level travel, an office chair with wheels could be utilized.

People using motorized and non-motorized wheelchairs or other ambulation devices

The needs and preferences of people will vary. Most will be able to exit safely without assistance if on the ground floor. Two volunteers are needed in carrying a person and wheelchair. It is advisable to arrange a two-person, lock arm carry or use an evacuation chair to manage stairways. Please keep in mind that some people have minimal ability to move and lifting them may be painful and/or injurious. Additionally, some individuals may have respiratory complications and must be removed from smoke or fumes immediately.

Always consult the person as to his/her preference with regard to:

  • Ways of being removed from the wheelchair. 
  • The number of people necessary for assistance. 
  • Whether to extend or move extremities when lifting because of pain, catheter bags, braces, etc. 
  • Whether a seat cushion or pad should be brought along if he/she is removed from the chair. 
  • Being carried forward or backward on a flight of stairs. 
  • After-care needs, if removed from a mobility device (wheelchair, scooter, etc).