How to plan for the emergency evacuation of people with disabilities


Your organizations offer of employment to an individual with a disability prompted you to review the organizations emergency evacuation plans, which unfortunately do not currently address individuals with disabilities. You need to update the plan how should you go about it?


Use this checklist to help develop, implement, and maintain a plan for the emergency evacuation of individuals with disabilities:

Plan Development

    Identify Accommodation Needs

    Ask employees to self-identify accommodation needs for emergency evacuation and assure employees that this is voluntary and confidential.

    Complete a hazard analysis to help identify workplace hazards that may impede emergency evacuation.

    Perform sample drills to help employees identify limitations that may affect their ability to evacuate in an emergency.

    Develop a method to identify visitors with special needs.

    Investigate Accommodation Options

    Ask employees with disabilities for their accommodation ideas.

    Consult with local fire, police, and HazMat departments.

    Explore various accommodation options for emergency evacuation.

    Finalize the Plan

    Identify and include key personnel who will be involved in emergency evacuation.

    Conduct mock drills with key personnel.

    Commit the plan to writing.

    Make necessary modifications to the evacuation plan.

Plan Implementation

    Distribute a copy of the evacuation plan to all employees. (Provide alternative format.)

    Conduct practice evacuation drills.

    Integrate the evacuation plan into the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Plan Maintenance

    Develop a system for reporting new hazards and safety concerns.

    Create a procedure to identify the accommodation needs of new employees.

    Review and modify the evacuation plan after scheduled and unscheduled practice drills.

    Facilitate relationships with fire, police, and HazMat departments.

    Inspect and maintain emergency evacuation equipment.

Source: Employers' Guide to Including Employees with Disabilities in Emergency Evacuation Plans by Linda Carter Batiste, JD, and Beth Loy, JD, which was developed for the Office of Disability Employment Policy's Job Accommodation Network. The Guide is available at

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