department menu

Evacuation Procedures

Evacuation drills on campus are conducted on a regular basis. Facilities such as the University Village Apartments and the Children’s Center have a more frequent drill schedule. Notice may or may not be given in advance of a drill; however, all building occupants are required to evacuate during a drill.

Map - Campus Evacuation Zones


Prepare: determine in advance the nearest exit from your work location and the route you shall follow to reach that exit in an emergency. Emergency evacuation signage is posted in buildings. Building occupants should become familiar with evacuation routes and assembly points. Establish an alternate route to be used in the event your route is blocked or unsafe.

During an evacuation:

  1. If time and conditions permit, secure your workplace and take with you important personal items such as car keys, purse, medication, glasses.
  2. Follow instructions from emergency personnel.
  3. Check doors for heat before opening. Do not open the door if it’s hot.
  4. Walk, do not run. Don’t push or crowd.
  5. Keep noise to a minimum so you can hear emergency instructions.
  6. Use handrails in stairwells; stay to the right.
  7. Assist people with disabilities.
  8. Move to your assembly point unless otherwise instructed.

If relocating outside the building:

  1. Move quickly away from the building.
  2. Watch for falling glass and other debris.
  3. Stay with your building safety coordinator.
  4. Keep roadways and walkways clear for emergency vehicles.
  5. If you have relocated away from the building, do not return until notified by University Police that it is safe to do so.
  6. Whenever the fire alarms/strobes are activated, occupants must evacuate the building and reassemble at your designated assembly point. Occupants on floors above the ground floor must use emergency exit stairwells to leave the building. Do not use elevators!
  7. For certain emergencies such as a bomb threat or a natural gas leak, the fire alarms/strobes may not be activated. Instead, Building Marshals shall move through the building and order the occupants to evacuate.
  8. Emergency evacuation signage is posted in buildings so that occupants can become familiar with the evacuation routes and assembly points for their area.

Disabled Persons

Persons using crutches, canes or walkers:

In emergency evacuations, these individuals should be treated as if they were injured. Have the individual sit on a sturdy chair, preferably a chair with arms, and follow the procedure for non-ambulatory persons discussed below.

Non-ambulatory persons:

Evacuation may not be necessary or advisable. Many stairwells are designed to provide temporary protection from fire or other danger. An able bodied volunteer shall stay with a wheelchair user on the stairwell platform while a second person notifies emergency personnel or paramedics of the exact location of the wheelchair user. If immediate evacuation is necessary, be aware of the following considerations:

  1. Wheelchairs have movable parts; some are not designed to withstand stress or lifting.
  2. You may need to remove the chair batteries; life-support equipment may be attached.
  3. In a life-threatening emergency, it may be necessary to remove an individual from their wheelchair. Use caution, as lifting persons with restricted mobility, may cause them bodily harm or injury.
  4. Wheelchairs should not be used to descend stairwells. Use an emergency evacuation chair.
  5. Non-ambulatory persons may have respiratory complications. Take them to a location away from smoke or fumes. Ask them if they have any needs or preferences.
  6. Check the evacuation routes for obstructions before assisting the person to the exit.
  7. Delegate other volunteers to collect the wheelchair.
  8. Return the person to their wheelchair as soon as it is safe to do so.

Providing Assistance

Always consult with people in the wheelchairs, asking them how you might assist them; i.e.,

  1. The number of people they require for assistance.
  2. Methods to remove them from the wheelchair.
  3. Taking precautions for pain, catheters, catheter-bags, limb-plasticity, braces, etc.
  4. Whether to carry them face-forward or -backward down a flight of stairs.
  5. Whether a seat cushion or pad shall be brought along, should the wheelchair be left behind?
  6. In lieu of a wheelchair, ask if they prefer a stretcher, cushioned- or padded-chair, or car seat.
  7. Whether paramedic assistance is required.

Visually Impaired

Most visually impaired persons shall be familiar with their immediate work area. In an emergency situation, describe the nature of the emergency and offer to act as a “sighted guide.” Offer your elbow and escort them to a safe place. As you walk, describe where you are and advise them of any obstacles. When you have reached safety, orient the person as to where you are and ask if any further assistance is needed.

Hearing Impaired

Because persons with impaired hearing may not hear emergency alarms, alternative warning techniques are required. Two methods are:

  1. Write a note describing the emergency and nearest evacuation route, “Fire. Go out rear door, to the right, and down. Now!”
  2. Turn the light switch off and on to get their attention, then indicate with gestures what is happening and what to do.


One responsibility of University Police, in the event of a campus closure or evacuation, is to direct vehicles off campus in a safe and controlled manner, following a traffic management plan. The officer in charge shall alter the plan when necessary due to:

  1. The nature of the emergency
  2. The immediate impact upon the campus
  3. The timing of the emergency
  4. The availability of Police Officers to implement the plan

Traffic Control

Staffing is contingent upon the number of police, parking, and community service officers currently on call.

This plan begins with the “worst-case” scenario — immediate campus evacuation. The plan may be modified to establish additional points of traffic control, dependent upon staff availability. Initially, University Police and Facilities Services staff shall be the primary controllers and shall report to the following intersections:

  1. Craven Road and Palm Canyon Drive
  2. Campus View Drive and Campus Way
  3. Craven Road and Twin Oaks Valley Road
  4. Campus Way and Barham Drive
  5. Campus View Drive and La Moree Road

Traffic Congestion

The most congested areas on campus, during mass egress, are Craven Road, between Palm Canyon Drive and Twin Oaks Valley Road. The goal of the controllers shall be to keep traffic moving in a manner that will favor traffic flow on these streets:

  1. Vehicles heading northbound on Twin Oaks Valley Road shall be directed towards Highway 78. Traffic being directed onto the freeway shall be directed onto all three northbound lanes to assist in congestion of the right lane; even if cars miss the freeway entrance. Traffic will be able to enter the freeway, southbound via a “u-turn” at San Marcos Blvd.
  2. When the northbound lanes of Twin Oaks Valley Road become congested, traffic will be directed westbound onto Craven Road.
  3. All Vehicles exiting Campus View Drive shall be directed to exit either Campus Way or La Moree Road.
  4. Vehicles leaving Parking Structure 1 should be directed eastbound on Campus View Drive and exit onto La Moree Road.
  5. Vehicles at Campus View Drive and La Morree shall be directed southbound onto La Moree to keep traffic flowing from PS-1.
  6. Vehicles at Campus Way and Barham Drive shall be directed eastbound down Barham Drive.
  7. Facilities staff shall report to the Incident Commander, to receive their work location. These personnel shall then be deployed into the structures to direct traffic to the exits with the least congestion and close all necessary exits to maintain the traffic plan.