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Persons Requiring Assistance During Emergencies

Persons who may require assistance are all those who are limited by mobility, hearing, visual, and other cognitive/mental demands. Assistance may be temporary or permanent.

Persons Requiring Assistance will ONLY be evacuated if they are in physical danger, as it can expose them to unnecessary risk otherwise. They should follow these three procedures:

Shelter in Place

They will shelter in place, i.e. they will remain in an office or classroom, where there are additional fire separations to protect them and the sound of bells/horns do not cause the same degree of duress.  

Contact Security

Security Services should be notified and provided with their location, status, and a callback number where they can receive a confirmation AFTER the event has concluded.

A volunteer shall exit and notify supervisory staff and/or firefighters of the location of the other individuals still in the building. 

Imminent Danger

It is suggested (not required) that one volunteer remain with the person requiring assistance on the floor/area.

In the event of imminent danger, volunteers should consider attempting to relocate the person requiring assistance to a lower level utilizing a safe exit stairwell or move the person requiring assistance horizontally into another office, classroom or area away from the hazard.

Persons Requiring Assistance Form

To ensure your safety during an emergency in your building we are asking Individuals to self-identify if they would require assistance to evacuate safely, noting that in the event of a building evacuation, elevators would not be in service. Should you require assistance please follow the steps below:

  1. Complete the Persons Requiring Assistance (PRA) form questionnaire on page 2.
  2. Provide the document to your Manager.
  3. Your Manager will log the information and include in the department / Faculty’s safety plan
  4. Your Manager will forward the PRA in a sealed envelope marked CONFIDENTAL PRA to the Community Safety Department who will place the PRA in your building’s Fire Box.
  5. Your Manager will update the Community Safety Department if there is any change in your work or mobility status.

Link to Persons Requiring Assistance (PRA) form

Special Assistance Group Program

Special Assistance Groups are teams of volunteers that are formed and led by Managers / Supervisors in workspaces to support co-workers who have self-identified as requiring special assistance during emergencies.

Groups members volunteer to remain with their co-worker on the floor/area during emergencies.

Another group member shall exit and notify supervisory staff and/or responders of the location of the other individuals still in the building. 

Preparing for an emergency

Emergencies, fires, accidents and injuries can occur at any time and without warning. Being prepared and knowledgeable about York University’s emergency procedures is critical before, during and after an emergency situation.

The purpose of this guide is to assist persons with disabilities and community members in becoming familiar with this information. Please read this guide thoroughly before an emergency. It could perhaps save your life or the lives of others.

It is recommended that you self identify with Student Accessibility Services (SAS), your professors or class instructors. We encourage you to discuss your needs for evacuation assistance with your disability counsellor.

If you require assistance in planning your evacuation prior to an emergency, please contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) or the Community Safety Department. In circumstances where an individual has not self identified but has a visible apparent need, community members may ask the individual directly if they require assistance in an emergency.

Please note that accessible formats and communications supports are available with respect to forms, guides, and other documentation, upon request.

  • Consider arranging in advance a designated person to assist you during an emergency evacuation.
  • If you see someone wearing a fluorescent orange or yellow vest and hat, they are Emergency Response Wardens. Follow their instructions out of the building and to the designated assembly point posted with the Green Signage.
  • Have a personal alarm that emits a loud noise to draw attention to your whereabouts.
  • Carry your fully charged cell phone with you always.
  • If you are working alone, make sure someone is aware and able to reach you either by phone or in person.
  • If a fire breaks out in your room, leave immediately and close the door.  Activate the fire alarm pull station nearby or call 911 and then Security Services at 416-736-5333, to report the exact location of the fire.
  • If you are aware of the audible or visual fire alarm where you are, leave the building immediately through the nearest fire exit if you are on  street level with direct access to the outdoors.
  • If you are on a floor other than street level, follow the fire exit sign directing you to the nearest fire exit stairway Call 911 and then Security Services at 416-736-5333, to report your exact location (nearby room number, building name and address), and the Stair Designation & Floor Number posted on the door of the fire exit stairway. Stay calm and wait for assistance.
  • For your information, placards indicating the Stair Designation & Floor Number are on both sides of doors at  fire exit stairways. If you do not see a placard, the stairway is not a fire exit.
  • Always ensure that any action you take does not put your life or the lives of others in danger.
  • University community members should not carry persons with physical disabilities downstairs. This should only be done as a last resort in situations where the person’s life is in immediate danger.
  • Notify 911 immediately then call Security Services at 416-736-5333, or from your office phone at extension 33333, if a person is left in a safe area and requires evacuation assistance.

Mobility limitations may make it difficult for a person to use stairs, move quickly or traverse long distances. Mobility devices include: wheelchair, scooter, walker, crutches or a cane.

Firefighters and Emergency Responders are trained to assist persons with mobility issues to evacuate buildings.

Once you have evacuated the building, immediately inform the Emergency Response Warden, Building Emergency Captain, York Security or other emergency official on scene of any person requiring assistance who remains in the building.

Emergency Survival Kit – Additional Items

  • Tire Patch Kit
  • Can of Tire Sealant (to repair flat tire)
  • Spare inner tubes
  • Pair of heavy work gloves (to protect hands from sharp debris or glass)
  • Spare deep-cycle battery

Persons Requiring Assistance

  • During an emergency evacuation or fire alarm; if you require assistance, ask other individuals around you  for help.
  • Inform them of your needs and how they can best offer assistance to you

Community Members

  • If a person in a wheelchair asks for your assistance you may, if it is safe for you to do so, assist them to relocate to a place of safety.
  • A place of safety is an area away from smoke or fire. This maybe  a stairwell, elevator lobby, a classroom or office with a door that can close to separate you from the smoke or fire.
  • Allow the person to identify how best to assist them.
  • Do not push or pull a persons' wheelchair without their permission.
  • Avoid attempts to lift, support or assist moving someone unless they are in imminent danger.
  • Do not carry persons with physical disabilities downstairs, except as a last resort if they are in imminent danger.

Vision loss can include a broad range of conditions ranging from partial to complete blindness. A person’s ability to read signs or move through their surroundings during an emergency may be challenged.

Emergency Survival Kit – Additional Items

  • Extra White Cane
  • Talking or Braille Clock
  • Large print timepiece w/extra batteries
  • Extra vision aids
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses
  • Assistive/reading devices

Persons Requiring Assistance

  • Familiarize yourself with emergency exits and evacuation routes on each floor of any building in which you work, live or study.
  • During an emergency evacuation or fire alarm; ask for assistance if you require it.
  • If someone is escorting you out, tell the person to advise you of any obstacles and to give you verbal instructions.
  • Ask them to inform you when you have reached a safe place. Ask them to orient you to your surroundings. Advise if you require further assistance.
  • If you feel unsafe, ask someone to stay with you.

Community Members

  • Ask if you can be of assistance.
  • To communicate with a deaf blind person try tracing letters with your finger on the palm of their hand.
  • Tell the person the nature of the emergency and offer to guide him/her.
  • Offer your arm, walk at their pace, keep a half step ahead of them.
  • As you walk, give verbal instructions; advise the person of where you are, of any obstacles, upcoming stairs or changes in direction.
  • Describe locating positions such as “to your right/left, straight ahead/behind you”.
  • When you have reached a safe place, orient the individual to where they are – ask if they require further assistance.
  • Do not leave the person alone.

A person with hearing loss can be deaf, hard of hearing or late-deafened. In an emergency, the method in which emergency messages are issued becomes critical.

Emergency Survival Kit – Additional Items

  • Note pad, pen and/or pencil
  • Whistle or noisemaker
  • Assistive devices (e.g. hearing aids, cochlear implants or fm system)
  • Waterproof container for assistive devices and batteries

Persons Requiring Assistance

  • Communicate your hearing loss through spoken language, sign language or using gestures. (e.g. point to your ear while shaking your head)
  • Keep a laminated card on your person that identifies you as a person with hearing loss, and indicate how best to communicate with you.
  • Watch for emergency messaging and/or instructions on the LCD screens.

Community Members

  • Get the person's attention by using a visual cue (e.g. turning the lights on and off) or by gently tapping their arm.
  • Face the person and make eye contact as they may be reading your lips.
  • Communicate in close proximity, speaking clearly and naturally.
  • Use body language and gestures to help relay your message; indicate what is happening and what they should do.
  • Write a note stating the emergency and actions to be taken. (e.g. “FIRE – go out the side door, NOW!”)

Non-visible disabilities can include communication, cognitive, sensory, mental health, learning or intellectual disabilities in which a persons' ability to respond in an emergency is restricted.

Emergency Survival Kit – Additional Items

  • Supply of food items appropriate to your disability/dietary.
  • Personal list and minimum 3 day supply of all needed medications, medical supplies and/or equipment.

Persons Requiring Assistance

  • During an emergency evacuation or fire alarm; if you require assistance ask other individuals around you for help.
  • Prepare an easy to understand list of things you need to do during an emergency.
  • Keep an emergency contact list on your person.

Community Members

  • Allow the person to describe what help they need from you.
  • Ask the individual what assistance they require of you. Say “My name is _____, and I’m here to help you.”
  • Find an effective means of communication. (e.g. provide drawn or written instructions)
  • State there is an emergency and that they need to leave the building.
  • Be patient, flexible and maintain eye contact when speaking to the person.
  • Breakdown information and directions into small simple steps.
  • Repeat yourself (if needed).
  • Offer to escort the individual out of the building and to the designated assembly point.

Being prepared for an emergency includes having a Personal Emergency Survival Kit. A Personal Emergency Survival Kit contains basic items you may need to remain comfortable in the event an emergency situation occurs while on campus.

The “kit” should be put together in an easy to carry storage container or bag and kept in an easy-to-reach location.

Always wear comfortable clothing and footwear while on campus. You should also consider other essential personal items you may require during an emergency. Additional items might include: personal affects, medications and/or assistive devices.

Emergency Kit Checklists:

Common items for all kits: Extra Cash, Granola or energy food bars, Bottled water, Light source (flashlight), Cellular phone ,Personal hygiene items, Essential medication(s), Emergency contact numbers.Personal Emergency Kit Portable radio, Whistle (to attract attention), Portable hand sanitizer, Band aids, Identification documents, Important contact numbers.
Residence Emergency Kit Battery-powered lantern, Battery-powered radio, Blankets and/or sleeping bag, Extra toothbrush and toothpaste, Books, magazines or playing cards, Canned or freeze-dried food, Manual can opener, Extra clothing and footwear, Non-perishable food (ready-to- eat items that do not require refrigeration), Toilet paper and other Personal items.Workplace Emergency Kit Battery-powered lantern, Battery-powered radio, Emergency blanket, Books, magazines or playing cards, Extra clothing and footwear, Small first-aid kit, Non-prescription medication.