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Emergency Preparedness For Persons with a Disability

Emergency preparedness means being ready for different situations, learning from experiences, and improving future readiness. At the University of Maryland, everyone plays a role in this effort. Check out the Office of Emergency Management and Business Continuity website for resources. Here's some information on your role:

Before and During an Emergency

  • Know where exits, alarms, and fire extinguishers are 
  • Save campus emergency numbers in your phone 
  • Sign up for the UMD Alert System
  • Be aware of your location.
  • Have a buddy for assistance during emergencies

Evacuation Assistance

  • Self-request help from friends or colleagues if needed 
  • Know the buildings you frequent and practice evacuation routes
  • Find a refuge location if evacuation is not possible
  • Report your location to emergency responders


  • Verify assistive device users can evacuate unassisted
  • Create evacuation plans considering specific disabilities: 
    • Low vision or blindness 
    • Deaf or hard of hearing 
    • Crutches, canes, walkers 
    • Wheelchairs

Tips for Individuals With disabilities

Vision Disabilities

  • Know evacuation routes and alternate paths
  • Use the buddy system with trained friends
  • Practice evacuation routes

Mobility Disabilities

  • Plan alternative evacuations
  • Find helpers to carry you and your equipment
  • Ensure safety during lifting

Hearing Disabilities

  • Talk to ADS/UHR/Faculty Affairs about accommodations 
  • Develop a buddy system
  • Stay connected to UMD ALERT

Mental/Cognitive Disabilities

  • Review evacuation plans regularly
  • Walk through scenarios

Tips for Evacuation Assistance Buddies

  • Help with visual and verbal guidance for those with low vision or blindness. 
  • Communicate through writing or gestures for Deaf or hard of hearing individuals. 
  • Assist mobility-restricted people to a safe area. 
  • Avoid lifting people in wheelchairs and ensure their needs are met.
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