YOU ARE HERE: IVPress HomeCollections

Voice: Think about disabled when setting up evacuation plan

November 01, 2001

October is National Disabilities Awareness Month. On behalf of Developmental Disabilities Board — Area XIII, serving Imperial and San Diego counties, I would first like to thank those in the community who have supported programs and services for persons with developmental disabilities.

I am particularly grateful to those employers who have been able to look beyond stereotypes and misconceptions of persons with disabilities to see the valuable and dedicated employees they can become. These employers know that employees with disabilities miss work at about the same rate as people without disabilities and have similar on-the-job safety records: They know that most persons with disabilities can enter a workplace with little accommodation, and that when necessary an appropriate reasonable accommodation can usually be made without difficulty and at little or no cost.

I am also writing to alert employers and building managers to an issue of special concern that has recently arisen regarding employees with disabilities. In light of the tragedy in New York, many of you have been taking a second look at your emergency evacuation plans. If you are among those reviewing an evacuation plan, I urge you to take account of any special needs of employees and visitors with disabilities when you develop or update your plan.


Like all employees, persons with disabilities should be prepared to evacuate the work site in the event of a fire or other disaster. Depending upon the building, its floor plan, and the availability of windows, fire resistant doors and sprinklers, evacuation plans for person with disabilities may include a "stay in place," "area of refuge" or other approach.

Special procedures for notifying hearing- or visually impaired individuals may be necessary. Persons with disabilities may wish to identify one or more peers to assist or guide them. Evacuation procedures can be posted and practiced so that they can readily be put into effect if the need arises.

Thank you for your continuing commitment to including persons with disabilities in the workplace and in the community as a whole.



Developmental Disabilities

Area Board XIII

San Diego

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles