This program establishes procedures for emergency evacuation of individuals with physically disabilities from residences, classrooms, and otherwise occupied buildings at Rutgers.

Rutgers University and the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code policies and procedures require that all persons in a facility evacuate that facility any time the fire alarm system is activated. Persons with disability may not be able to evacuate unassisted. Therefore, they should inform another person that assistance may be necessary during a fire alarm activation.

"Buddy System" Option

During the first week of classes or employment, make acquaintances with fellow students, residents, class members, or office workers. Inform them of any special assistance that may be required in the event of a fire alarm (i.e., hearing the alarm, guidance during evacuation, etc.)

When the fire alarm sounds, the "Buddy" (or assistant) will make sure of the location of the person with a disability, then go outside and inform emergency personnel that a person in that location needs assistance in leaving the building. Emergency personnel will then enter the building and evacuate that person.

Evacuation Options During a Fire Alarm

Use of the "Buddy System," along with the following evacuation options, will help to assure the prompt evacuation of any person with a disability.

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

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

Unless danger is imminent, remain in a room with an exterior window and a telephone, closing the door if possible. Call Rutgers Police (obtain an outside line and dial 911) and give your name, location and reason you are calling. The dispatcher will relay the information to on-scene emergency personnel. Phone lines normally remain in service during most building emergencies. If the phone lines fail, the individual can signal from the window by waving a cloth or other visible object.

Area of Refuge 
If the person with disability cannot get far enough away from the danger by using Horizontal Evacuation, then that person should seek an Area of Refuge. Such an area should have the following: 1) telephone communication, 2) a sprinkler system, and 3) one-hour fire-rated assembly (i.e., fire-rated door, walls, ceiling). Note: Residence Hall rooms qualify as areas of refuge. You should identify an area of refuge in your building within the first weeks of your classes or employment.