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 Emergency Exit Elevators within the buildings in the plan. 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.

No elevator should be used unless it is an EXIT ELEVATOR

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-Southeast stairwell near elevator (floors 3-5) and northeast corner on 5th floor
  • Strong Hall-All (3) three enclosed stairs (southeast, southwest, and center near elevator)
  • Memorial Stadium-Press box floors 6-9 in the north and south stairwells; 5th level near north and south elevators
  • Allen Fieldhouse-Near south elevator
  • Malott Hall-Northwest, northeast, and southeast stairwells
  • Budig Hall-Elevator landings on levels 2 and 3, northeast and northwest stairwells on level 2, and bottom level of basement stairwells
  • Joseph R. Pearson (JRP) Hall-Center stairwell on levels 3-7

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 Facilities Planning and Management. 

Staying in Place
Individuals with disabilities or other conditions that do not allow them to evacuate with others should include in their personal action plan their spicific “Stay in Place” location (i.e., office, resident hall room, classrooms). It is the responsibility of every member of the University community to immediately notify emergency personnel of the location of individuals who are unable to evacuate.

  1. Remain in a room with an exterior window and a telephone.
  2. Close the door, if possible. 
  3. 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 the person who needs evacuation assistance.
  4. If a phone is not available, signal from the window by waving a cloth or other visible object.

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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