Grays Harbor College

Safety and Security

Evacuation for People with Disabilities


Please be aware that people with disabilities and their service animals may be entirely self-sufficient under normal circumstances but may need extra assistance in an emergency. Ask the person how you can help them most effectively. Assistance should be offered not assumed.  

Note to persons with disabilities:  You are strongly encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Support Services (students) or Office of Human Resources (employees) to discuss safety issues and the College’s evacuation plan.


In the event of an emergency, observe the following evacuation procedures to assist people with disabilities:

  • Be aware of areas near your classroom or office that have been designated for wheelchair users or others with disabilities.
  • Be aware that people with disabilities may need more time to make necessary preparations in an emergency. 
  • Be aware that rescue, fire and police personnel, and Campus Operations will check all exit corridors, elevators and exit stairwells for trapped persons, including persons with disabilities who are unable to use stairs.  
  • Offer assistance whenever possible. 


People with mobility impairments:

  • Persons using wheelchairs on ground level floors can evacuate along with other persons.
  • On a non-ground level floor, you may need to assist a person who uses a wheelchair (electric or manual) and evacuate that person, leaving the wheelchair behind.  Note: In order to safely carry a person while descending stairs, two persons must use specific techniques, which must be learned and practiced prior to an actual emergency. If you do not know these techniques, or if the person does not wish to be carried, tell the person using the wheelchair to remain in the area of rescue. 

People with vision loss:

  •  Help guide a person with vision loss by asking the person if he or she would like to take your arm at the elbow. DO NOT grasp the arm of a person with low vision or blindness. Give the person verbal instructions as you guide the person, and advise about steps, rough terrain, doorways, debris, etc. Verbal compass directions, estimated distances, and directional terms are the most familiar tools for persons with vision loss.
  • A service animal could become confused or disoriented in a disaster.  People who are blind may have to depend on others to lead them, as well as their service animal, to safety during a disaster.

People who are deaf or hearing impaired:

  • Hearing impaired persons should individually be made aware of an emergency and how to respond to it. Write directions on paper if necessary.  It should not be assumed that hearing impaired persons can hear the fire alarm or that they will know what to do by watching others.

People with respiratory illnesses:

  • Many respiratory illnesses can be aggravated by stress.  In an emergency, oxygen and respiratory equipment may not be readily available.  People with respiratory illnesses should be referred to emergency personnel.

People with other disabilities:

  • Ask the person how you can help them most effectively.  If necessary, lead the person to an area of rescue assistance and/or stairwell and tell the person to wait there, then go seek help from Campus Operations, police, and/or fire personnel immediately.

Area of Rescue Assistance Areas of Rescue Assistance are designated places where people with disabilities remain temporarily in safety to await further instructions or assistance during emergency evacuations.  At this time, building stairwells and exit corridors are to be used as temporary waiting areas until Areas of Rescue Assistance have been approved for the campus. As Areas of Rescue Assistance are approved, signs identifying the area will be placed on site.




Grays Harbor College
1620 Edward P. Smith Drive
Aberdeen , WA 98520

(360) 532-9020 or toll-free (in WA state) 1-(800) 562-4830
Fax: (360) 538-4299

Off-Campus Locations

Riverview Education Center, Raymond: (360) 875-9466
Columbia Education Center, Ilwaco: (360) 642-9433
Whiteside Education Center, Aberdeen: (360) 533-9733