Any person with a disability, temporary or permanent, or other condition that would require them to need assistance during an evacuation is considered to have “access and functional needs”. Access and functional needs are further defined as anyone who, without the assistance of another person, would have difficulty evacuating or relocating to a safe location, or would slow down evacuation of other occupants within the building. This may include, but not be limited to:

  • Persons with a mobility impairment who use a wheelchair, walker, cane, crutches, or other mobility device
  • Persons recovering from surgery or medical procedure
  • Persons with a hearing or sight impairment
  • Pregnancy

Request for Evacuation Assistance

The privacy and confidentiality of persons with access and functional needs during an evacuation must be respected. As such, individuals cannot be required to disclose they have access and functional needs. Therefore, planning emergency evacuation of persons with access and functional needs must be predicated on self-disclosure.Occupants who have access and functional needs during an evacuation must request assistance from the Facility Warden in writing, using the Self-Certification of Access and Functional Needs form, so that advance arrangements can be made to meet their needs. This information will only be used to assist emergency response personnel in locating and assisting persons with access and functional needs during an emergency.

Mobility Assistants, or “buddies”, shall be recruited from within the same building as the self-identified person with access and functional needs, in advance, to assist them during an evacuation.

There may be instances where no assistance is requested in advance, visitors may have access and functional needs, or persons may develop specific needs during an emergency/disaster. We ask all employees to help others who may need assistance during any emergency or notify emergency responders that assistance is needed. In all cases Mobility Assistants, or “buddies”, must be recruited with a ratio of at least two Assistants for every individual who requires evacuation assistance. In assisting persons with access and functional needs during an evacuation, always consult with the person regarding how best to be of assistance.

Building Evacuation Plans will identify the location of Rescue Assistance Area(s) in the building, where people, because of stairs, are unable to exit and may await evacuation assistance from assigned Mobility Assistants or emergency response personnel.

Access and Functional Needs Roster

The list of self-identified individuals requiring evacuation assistance and their access and functional needs is located in the files of the your Department Emergency Management Coordinator and Security. This list is NOT made available to the general public. This information is for emergency use only and will only be used to prepare for safe and quick evacuation of personnel in emergency situations.

If you have questions regarding the Access and Functional Needs Self-Certification Program, please contact your Facility, Floor or Area Warden.