Situations requiring evacuation include fire, hazardous material release, bomb threat and earthquake. A fire alarm must be treated as a real emergency and building evacuation must occur. The need for evacuation in other situations will be determined by emergency personnel and you will be advised if evacuation is necessary.

If evacuation is necessary:

    1. If time permits, shut down equipment and secure hazardous materials.
    2. Calmly proceed to nearest fire exit  (in case of fire, check doors for heat before opening).
    3. Follow instructions from emergency personnel.
    4. Do NOT use elevators.
    5. Walk — don’t rush or crowd. Use handrails in stairways. Assist people with disabilities.
    6. Move away from the building quickly – watch for falling glass and other hazards.
    7. Proceed to your designated Evacuation Assembly Area and stay there so that emergency personnel can account for all building occupants.
    8. DO NOT RE-ENTER THE BUILDING until notified by emergency personnel that it is safe to do so.

Building evacuation planning for persons with mobility challenges:


  • Persons with mobility challenges:
    • Pre-plan what you will do if there is an emergency in your building and know the exit routes available.
    • If no exit is available then find a safe place (no apparent danger, has communications and someone knows where you are)
      • If you are in one, stay there.
      • If not, move to a safe place in a different part of the same floor.
    • In either event, ensure that someone (ideally a supervisor) knows exactly where you are and plans to tell a first responder as soon as they exit.
  • Supervisors/instructors:
    • Know the layout of your buildings, any exit challenges and potential safe places.
    • Know what you would do if an evacuation occurs and you have folks in your area of responsibility that have mobility challenges.
    • Know and be able to describe (room numbers, etc.) exactly where any persons with mobility-challenges have elected to await rescue.
    • Make sure to tell the first emergency responder you see in detail and make sure action is being taken.


  • Horizontal Evacuation – This means moving away from the area of danger to a safer place on the same floor where the individual is at the time of the alarm or emergency. This type of evacuation may be required in situations where the individual cannot use exit stairs to get to the outside and must remain on a particular floor until assistance arrives. In this case, the individual should move away from the area of imminent danger (detectable smoke, fire, or unusual odor) to a safe distance (i.e., another wing, the opposite end of the corridor, or outside).
  • Stay in Place – In certain cases, individuals may not be able to move to another location. Unless danger is imminent, the individual should remain in a room with an exterior window and a phone, closing the door if possible. Contact Campus Security’s emergency line (250-807-8111) and give your name, location, and reason you are calling. Phone lines normally remain in service during building emergencies. If the phone line fails, an individual can contact Campus Security via their mobile phone, or signal from the window by waving a cloth or other visible item.


When a person with mobility challenges regularly works in specific areas (e.g. worker, student with a classroom and lab schedule, etc.), plans should be proactively developed to address specific needs, possible egress challenges, appropriate evacuation routes and locations, and a communication plan. Assistance in the planning process can be provided by the Disability Resource Centre as well as Health, Safety and Environment. Horizontal evacuation routes/destinations should be the first priority, followed by “staying in place” planning.


In situations where visitors with mobility challenges are on campus or if a student or staff member with mobility challenges is not in (one of) their regular location(s), general principles will apply. Emergency Wardens may be the primary contact point in an emergency evacuation situation and thus it is important for Wardens to familiarize themselves with layout details of the areas they are responsible for. If a person with mobility challenges is present when a building is evacuated, the Warden will direct that person to the area of the floor furthest away from the risk/hazard.


  • When pre-planning for a specific person, make two plans – one for use if the person can be assisted by others and one for if they are alone (would be part of “Working Alone” procedure).
  • Two different evacuation routes should be planned for each location; elevators and dead-end locations must be avoided.
  • Consider implications/needs if egress route could be through closed fire doors without accessible opening hardware.
  • It is prudent for persons with mobility challenges to carry personal mobile phones in case building phones do not work or are not present.
  • Persons with mobility challenges should consider carrying bright, adhesive door/window markers to make it easier for emergency personnel to find them.
  • “Communication plan” can be as simple as setting up a buddy system.