Emergency Number: 911, Emergency Management Office 859-257-3815 or 859-257-6655

University of Kentucky Emergency Assistance Card Program

Emergency Services Card Front

Front Side of Card

Emergency Services Card Back

Back Side of Card

At some point in time almost everyone needs assistance in some way. Not everyone with a disability will require assistance during an emergency. Evaluate your situation and determine your own needs. It is the responsibility of each person to ask for help when needed.

Evacuation for persons with disabilities — Appropriate evacuation procedures should be prearranged between the persons with disabilities and the people assigned to assist them. The University has developed an Emergency Assistance Card program that is available upon request. This card can be carried by individuals with disabilities and presented to a co-worker, friend or faculty, who in turn will give it to the emergency team on site. For more information about the card or to receive a card, contact the University Equal Opportunity Office or UK Disability Resource Center.

Individuals with unobservable disabilities or impairments may or may not self-identify before an emergency. Such conditions may include arthritis, a cardiac condition, chronic back problems, asthma, a learning disability, etc. These persons may need additional help during emergency situations. Request that all persons who feel they may need special assistance notify appropriate key departmental persons so that arrangements can be made in advance to meet their needs.

General Guidelines

  • It is University Policy that all occupants must evacuate the building when the fire alarm is activated. The only exceptions to the Policy are patient related areas such as the Hospital where special procedures have been developed.
  • All exit stairwells are fire rated and are protected by self-closing/self-latching doors. These are the safest areas during an emergency. Physically impaired persons are advised to proceed to them immediately.
    • Corridors leading to the exit stairwells must be maintained clear and unobstructed at all times.
    • If there is no imminent danger and there are no special problems evacuating the person, place the individual into or next to the stairwell. Rescue personnel are instructed to check all exit corridors and exit stairwells first for any stranded persons.
    • No one should attempt to use an elevator to evacuate during an emergency. Use the stairs instead.

Specific Recommendations

Visually Impaired Persons
  • Tell the person the nature of the emergency and offer your arm for guidance. This is the preferred method when acting as a "sighted guide."
  • As you walk, tell the person where you are and where obstacles are located.
  • When you reach safety, orient the person to the location and ask if further assistance is needed.
Hearing Impaired Persons
  • Some campus buildings are equipped with audible fire alarms which should be activated during an emergency. However, hearing impaired individuals may not receive the audible signal. Use an alternative warning system. Several methods can be used, including:
    • Write a note to tell the person of the situation, the nearest evacuation route, and where to meet outside. (Sample script: "FIRE! Go out the rear door on your right. NOW. Meet outside on the front lawn.")
    • Turn the light switch on and off to gain their attention and then indicate through gestures or in writing what is happening and what to do. Do not use the light switch technique if you smell natural gas in the area.
Persons Using Crutches, Canes, or Walkers
  • In evacuations, these individuals should be treated as if they were injured. Carrying options include using a two-person, lock-arm position or having the individual sit on a sturdy chair (preferably with arms) which is then lifted and carried.
People Who Use Wheelchairs (Non-ambulatory)
  • Most non-ambulatory persons will be able to exit safely without assistance if they are on the ground floor.
  • If you are assisting a non-ambulatory person, be aware that some people have minimal ability to move and lifting them may be dangerous to their well-being. Some individuals have very little upper trunk and neck strength.
  • Frequently, non-ambulatory persons have respiratory complications. Remove them from smoke and vapors immediately. Some people who use wheelchairs may have electrical respirators. Give them priority assistance, as their ability to breathe may be seriously in danger.
The needs and preferences of non-ambulatory individuals vary. Always consult with the person as to his or her preference regarding:
  • Ways of being moved.
  • The number of people necessary for assistance. If carrying a person more than three flights, a relay team will be needed.
  • Whether to extend or move extremities when lifting because of pain, braces, etc.
  • Whether a seat cushion or pad should be brought along.
  • Being carried forward or backward on stairs.
  • Aftercare, if removed from the wheel chair.
  • Remember to check the intended route for obstructions before transporting the individual. Delegate others to bring the wheelchair. When the wheelchair is left behind, remove it from the stairwell and place it so it does not obstruct the egress of others. Reunite the person with their wheelchair as soon as it is safe to do so.

Wheelchairs have many movable or weak parts which were not constructed to withstand the stress of lifting (i.e., the seat bar, foot plates, wheels, movable arm rests, etc.). If the chair is battery-powered, remove the batteries before moving it. Make sure the foot rests are locked and the motor is off. If a seatbelt is available, secure the person in the chair.

For more information about this program or to obtain a card, please contact Jake Karnes, Disability Resource Center, at 257-2754; Patty Bender, Office of Institutional Equity, at 257-8927; or Captain Tom Matlock, Division of Crisis Management and Preparedness, at 257-3815.

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Page last updated: July 18, 2012