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Skidmore College
Emergency Preparedness

Evacuation Procedures Guidelines

Exigent circumstances: A situation where an immediate decision must be made due to the nature of the emergency or threat. An example of this may be a credible bomb threat or explosion.

Building Evacuation

a.     All building evacuations will occur when a building alarm (fire alarm) sounds and/or upon notification by the Department of Campus Safety.

b.     When the building evacuation alarm is activated during an emergency, leave by the nearest marked exit and alert others to do the same.

c.     Assist people with disabilities in exiting the building! Remember that elevators are reserved for people with disabilities. In case of fire or earthquake, do not use the elevators.

d.     Once outside, proceed to the predetermined assembly area that should be at least 500 feet away from the affected building. Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrant areas, and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and personnel. Know your buildings evacuation assembly point noted on the Emergency Procedures poster.

e.     Do not return to an evacuated building unless told to do so by a College official.    

Campus Evacuation

a.     Evacuation of all or part of the campus will be announced by the Department of Campus Safety or appropriate agency.

b.     All persons (students and staff) are to vacate immediately the area of campus in question and relocate to the predetermined evacuation site.    


It may be safer to lock buildings down without evacuating in certain situations (e.g. armed intruder on campus).

a.     Plans will be developed to lock the affected areas in a timely manner.

b.     Subjects in affected buildings will be instructed to stay away from windows to minimize exposure.

Evacuation of Persons with Disabilities

a.     If you are unable to leave the building due to a physical disability:

      • Go to the nearest area where there are no hazards.
      • Contact Campus Safety by telephone (518-580-5566) or use other means to advise them of the situation.
      • Be sure to give them the room number so they can send help to you.
      • If possible, signal out the window to on-site emergency responders.
      • Try to establish a "buddy" system to have someone ready to assist you.

b.     To assist visually impaired persons

      • Announce the type of emergency.
      • Offer your arm for guidance.
      • Tell the person where you are going, obstacles you encounter.
      • When you reach safety, ask if further help is needed.

c.     To alert people with hearing limitations

      • Turn lights on/off to gain the person's attention, or
      • Indicate directions with gestures, or
      • Write a note with evacuation directions.

d.     To evacuate people using crutches, canes, or walkers

      • Evacuate these individuals as injured persons.
      • Assist and accompany to evacuation site if possible, or
      • Use a sturdy chair (or one with wheels) to move the person, or
      • Help carry individual.

e.     To evacuate wheelchair users

      • Non-ambulatory persons' needs and preferences vary.
      • Individuals at ground floor locations may exit without help.
      • Others have minimal ability to move—lifting may be dangerous.
      • Some non-ambulatory persons have respiratory complications.
      • Remove them from smoke and vapors immediately.
      • Wheelchair users with electrical respirators get priority assistance.
      • Most wheelchairs are too heavy to take down stairs.
      • Consult with the person to determine best carry options.
      • Reunite the person with the chair as soon as it is safe to do so.

f.      Evacu-Trac Devices – Devices to move disabled persons from upper floors are located in the following campus locations:

      • Campus Safety
      • Jonsson Tower – 11th floor
      • Library – 4th floor
      • Palamountain – 4th floor stairwell by President’s Office
      • Sasselin Art Center – 2nd floor
      • Scribner Library – 3rd floor

To Implement an Evacuation

    • Remain calm.
    • Alert others to assist with evacuation.
    • Communicate clearly and succinctly.
      Example: "We have a                               type of emergency. Evacuate to                                                             .   Take your belongings. DO NOT use the elevators."
    • Assist persons with disabilities (see above section).
    • Check offices, classrooms, and restrooms.
    • Turn equipment off, if possible.
    • Close doors, but do not lock them.
    • Take emergency supplies, rosters.
    • Keep exiting groups together.
    • Instructors assist students.
    • Gather at the evacuation site and await instructions.
    • Account for faculty, staff, and students when all gathered.
    • Exit the building via the nearest safe exit route. Walk; do not run. Do not use elevators to exit.
    • Move away from the building, report to the designated evacuation point.
    • Keep existing groups together.
    • Account for faculty, staff, and students and sign in at evacuation point.
    • Remain at evacuation point until directions are received.
    • Do not reenter the building until emergency staff gives the "all clear" signal. (The silencing of the building fire alarm system is normally used as the "all clear" signal. In some cases, the fire alarm will be silenced and staff members placed at building entrances to keep people out until the incident has been resolved.)