In order to be fully prepared for an emergency situation such as a fire, natural disaster or security threat, educational facilities must have the proper equipment and drills to reinforce evacuation plans. The following are a few guidelines for planning and executing effective disaster drills and exercises:
Address all students’ needs, including those with disabilities.
If the needs of every individual in the facility are not addressed, an evacuation plan is not truly effective. Be sure to include students with disabilities in every drill. In addition to complying with ADA requirements, it is vital to address the needs of these students to provide a safe environment in the event of an emergency.
Purchase equipment that will support your plans.
Including students with disabilities in evacuation plans is pointless without having equipment that will make this task possible in a worst case scenario. The Med Sled®, a non-lift, slide device that addresses both vertical and horizontal evacuation needs, is the ideal solution for this type of evacuation.
Make your training and drills as realistic as possible.
Plans and equipment, while critical to an evacuation, are only as good as the training and drills conducted regularly. Evacuations do not happen in a perfect environment, so make them as real as possible by creating a chaotic environment similar to a disaster, and make sure to include your students and staff with disabilities. Create the environment that will truly prepare your staff and students for a real world evacuation.