Evacuation Options


University procedures require all people, including those with disabilities or other conditions, to evacuate a facility when the fire alarm is activated or when otherwise instructed to do so. Depending on the facility and the type of disability at issue, a person with a disability or other conditions may have the following evacuation options. 

Horizontal Evacuation 
Moving away from the area of imminent danger to a safe distance (i.e., another wing, adjoining building, opposite end of corridor, outside to ground level). 

Vertical (or Stairway) Evacuation
Stairways can be used by those who are able to evacuate with or without assistance. People with visual disabilities may require the assistance of a sighted person. People who must use crutches or other devices such as walking aids will need to use their own discretion, when determining to use stairways, especially where several flights of stairs are concerned. 

Vertical (Emergency Exit Elevator) Evacuation 
Elevators designated as “Emergency Exit Elevators” approved for use by the University Fire Marshal can be used by people with disabilities or other conditions needing assistance to evacuate. Personal action plans should include a list of buildings with designated “Emergency Exit Elevators.” A list of designated “Emergency Exit Elevators” is located on the KU Public Safety Office website under Personal Action Plans. A sign adjacent to each landing at any of the Emergency Exit Elevators notifies occupant’s availability of elevator. In the event an elevator or “Emergency Exit Elevator” is shut down because it is affected by fire, utilize alternate routes designated in your emergency plan, including staying in your office or room and contacting 9-1-1.

Moving to an Area of Refuge or Rescue Assistance Area(s) or Refuge

Some buildings on campus have been designed to have Area of Refuge or Rescue Assistance Area(s) or Refuge(s) which includes communication devices to a monitored location. Refer to the Building’s Emergency Floor Plans located at each exit to determine 
whether or not the building has an Area of Refuge(s) or Rescue Assistance Area(s) or Refuge(s) and, if so, the location(s). The following buildings have Area of Refuge or Rescue Assistance Area or Refuge locations:

  • Murphy Hall South wing only 
  • Strong Hall All (3) three enclosed stairs 
  • Memorial Stadium Press box
  • Allen Fieldhouse South elevator only 
  • Malott Hall Designated stairwells 

These areas are identified to rescue personnel as likely areas for individuals to locate in the event they are unable to evacuate a building. People needing evacuation assistance should familiarize themselves with these locations. Additional information about the locations of these areas may be obtained by contacting the facility’s Building Emergency Liaison or the Office of Design and Construction Management. 

Use of Elevator 
No elevator should be used unless it is an EXIT ELEVATOR. 

Staying in Place
Individuals with disabilities or other conditions which do not allow them to evacuate with others, should include in their personal action plan the specific location of their “Stay in Place” (i.e., office, resident hall room, classrooms). Remain in a room with an exterior window and a telephone. Close the door, if possible. Individuals staying in place should CALL 9-1-1, if this hasn’t been done already. The dispatcher will assist by notifying on-scene emergency personnel of the location of a person with disability or other condition who needs evacuation assistance. If the telephone lines fail, the individual can signal when possible from the window by waving a cloth or other visible object. It is the responsibility of every member of the University community to immediately communicate to emergency personnel the location of individuals who are unable to evacuate. Individuals using the “Stay in Place” option must provide their location in their personal action plan. 
Alert Systems
The University recommends that all University faculty, students, and employees, including people with disabilities and other conditions, register with the KU text message alert system to receive KU Alert text messages. Please note that the actual fire alert is not part of this text messaging system. 


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