- Most non-ambulatory people will be able to exit safely without assistance out of single
- All 2+ story buildings will require persons to be carried out. If evacuation assistance
is required, always ask the person what method of assistance they prefer. Some people
have minimal ability to move and lifting them may be dangerous to their well being.
If the person prefers to be moved in their wheelchair the wheelchair user will be
carried facing away from the stairs.
- Some people have no upper trunk or neck strength to assist in being carried out. If
a seatbelt is available, secure the person if use of a chair is the method employed
to carry the person to safety.
- If moving a person more than three (3) flights, a “relay team” arrangement is needed.
If a wheelchair is left behind, do NOT leave it in an exit path or doorway to become
- Wheelchairs have many movable weak parts which were not constructed to withstand the
stress of lifting (e.g., the seat bar, footplates, wheels, movable armrests).
- Frequently, non-ambulatory persons have respiratory complications or rely on electric
artificial respirators. They should be given priority assistance if there is smoke
or a fume, as their ability to breathe is seriously in danger.
- Power wheelchairs may have heavy batteries, which are difficult to remove. In this
situation, the best response may be to ask the person to transfer to an evacuation
chair, if one is available, so that they can be moved immediately. If it is not possible
for the person to be removed from the chair (i.e., if the person uses respiratory
equipment that is attached to the chair), wait for assistance. If attempting to move
a power wheelchair, remove the batteries. Make sure the footrests are locked, the
motor is off, and it is in neutral gear. Some power wheelchairs and scooters may not
have heavy battery packs, and may be moved with little difficulty.
- If the person prefers to be removed from their wheelchair, their needs and preferences
will vary. Always consult the person as to his/her preference with regards to:
- Ways of being removed from a wheelchair
- The number of people needed for assistance
- Whether to extend or move extremities when lifting because of pain, catheter leg bags,
spasticity, braces, etc.
- If a seat cushion or pad should be brought along with him/her if he/she is removed
from the wheelchair.
- Being carried forward to backward on a flight of stairs.
- After-care. If a person is removed from the wheelchair (i.e., a stretcher, chair with
cushion pad, or car seat) perhaps paramedic assistance might be needed.
- The person will want their wheelchair retrieved as soon as possible. The wheelchair
is essential to the person’s mobility and should be given a high priority to be retrieved
as soon as possible. Inform the University Police of the location of wheelchairs to