Isothermal Community College

Learning College Manual

Emergency and Safety Plans

Special Considerations for Persons with Disabilities

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESPONSIBILITIES

Persons using wheelchairs

If on a ground floor, assistance may not be needed exiting the building.  Proceed to the designated assembly point and wait for further instructions.  Do not return to the evacuated building unless an “all clear” is given to return to the building by emergency responders.  When located in a multi-level building, exit to the nearest fire-safe stairwell or elevator with fire-safe doors separating the lobby from the incident.  Ask for assistance.  Stair chairs are provided near these locations and can be used if necessary.  If no one is available to assist, call 911 (9-911 from campus phone) and give the dispatcher your exact location.

Persons with mobility impairments

These individuals may use crutches, canes, or walkers.  Ask for assistance.  If unable to use the stairs, follow the procedures outlined above for “persons using wheelchairs.” 

Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing

Most buildings are not equipped with visual fire alarm systems.  It is important to be familiar with the evacuation process and route before any incidents occur.  College personnel will notify hearing-impaired person by writing a physical note.

Persons who are blind or visually impaired

Most buildings will be equipped with audio fire alarm systems.  Ask for assistance evacuating and let the person know how to assist you.  If you have a guide dog, instruct the person on how to assist you.

ASSISTING PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Persons using wheelchairs

Persons using wheelchairs may depend on a respiratory device to breath, and/or may have no upper trunk or neck strength. When assisting a person in a wheelchair:

  • Always ask what assistance is needed first.
  • Stair chairs are stationed at buildings with multiple floors.
    • Administration Building
    • Rutherfordton Learning Center
    • Performing Arts and Conference Center
    • Life Long Learning Center
  • Individuals at ground floor locations may exit without help.
  • In multi-level buildings, move the person to the nearest stairwell (fire-safe exit) or elevator lobby with fire doors separating the lobby from the incident. Utilize the evacuation chair located near the emergency exit.  Never attempt to move an occupied wheelchair down the steps, use the evacuation chairs instead.  If you are unable to remove the person using a wheelchair safely call 911 (9-911 from a campus phone) immediately to give the location of the person needing assistance.  Emergency responders will determine if the elevator can safely be used.
  • If a wheelchair is left behind, DO NOT leave it in the exit path or doorway. This may block other people exiting the area.

Persons with mobility impairments

These individuals may use crutches, canes or walkers. Ask the individual if they need assistance and if they are able to use the stairs. If the person is unable to use stairs, follow the procedure outlined above for “persons using wheelchairs.”

Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing

Most buildings are equipped with audio fire alarm systems.  In locations where no visual alarms are present, and notification has been given to evacuate or move to a safe location in the building, two methods of alerting hearing-impaired individuals are:

  • Turn room lights on and off to gain the person’s attention.  Follow with hand gestures to show the person the direction to evacuate.
  • Write a note and hand it to the hearing-impaired person or write a message on the white board, e.g., “Fire Alarm, Please Go!”

Persons who are blind or visually impaired

Most persons who are blind or visually impaired will be familiar with their surrounding area and routes during normal activities on campus.  In an emergency:

  • Announce the type of emergency to the visually impaired person.
  • Offer to guide the person by letting him/her take your arm.
  • Tell the person where you are and any obstacles that may be encountered while walking.
  • When you reach the designated area, let the person know and ask if further assistance is needed.
  • If the individual has a guide dog, let him/her direct you on how to assist them.