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Accessibility Emergency Preparedness Resources

Individuals should strive to be as prepared as possible by creating an personal emergency plan and educating themselves about emergency procedures before an emergency happens. Individuals with disabilities should follow the general guidance contained on the Be Prepared page as well as the specific instructions provided below. The university strongly urges all students, faculty, and staff to register for UH ALERTs for emergency notification.

Before an Emergency


Every individual should work with university faculty and staff to develop a personal emergency plan that outlines appropriate resources and responses in the event of an emergency. The plan should include specific evacuation procedures, sheltering procedures, and means of communication in the event of an emergency. It should also contain:

  • for each of the buildings that the individual frequents, the safest location on each floor where they can await assistance for emergency personnel;
  • communication tools that the individual can use to inform emergency personnel of their location;
  • the names of at least two friends/coworkers who are willing and able to provide assistance to the individual during an emergency. These individuals should be a friend or coworker who is likely to be in the same building at a similar time frame as the individual. They should familiarize themselves with appropriate procedures by reviewing the Be Prepared page and the section below on assisting individuals with disabilities.

During an Emergency

Individuals should familiarize themselves with, and follow the guidance of, the Be Prepared page for the appropriate response to various types of emergencies. This website describes basic responses to emergency situations: shelter-in-place and evacuations. The UH ALERT message will indicate which step to follow in case of emergencies; however it is best that members of the campus community develop a basic knowledge of which response is appropriate for various situations so that they can respond to the emergency as quickly as possible. Individuals with disabilities should follow the responses outlined on the Be Prepared page but make accommodations for situations in which elevators are inaccessible, precluding evacuation.


Elevators should never be used in fire evacuation situations. Individuals who are unable to use the stairs to exit should ask for assistance or proceed to the nearest enclosed stairwell (one that has doors at every entrance) and wait for the emergency personnel to arrive. The Fire Department and University Police will attempt to check all areas, including restrooms, to communicate the need to evacuate. Individuals with disabilities should immediately notify UHPD at 713-743-3333 or 9-1-1 if they are unable to evacuate as directed in an emergency situation.

Enclosed building stairwells have a higher fire resistive rating. To aid protection, ensure the door to the stairwell is tightly closed, as open doors will allow smoke and possibly fire into the stairwell. Someone may stay with the person requiring assistance if it does not place them in additional danger and if another person is able to meet responding emergency personnel to report the location of those in the stairwell. If you cannot get to an enclosed stairwell, follow the instructions below for being trapped.


Individuals should shelter in place during some emergencies, including weather events, and hazardous material releases. Individuals who are unable to get to an enclosed stairwell during an evacuation should also shelter in place. Directions for how to best shelter in place for each of these scenarios are available on the Be Prepared page.

Assisting Individuals with Disabilities

In an emergency, community members should assist individuals with disabilities in the following ways:

  • Ensure that the individual is aware of the emergency and that they know what to do.
  • Inform deaf/hard-of-hearing persons of the emergency individually; do not assume that they know what is happening by watching others.
  • Before attempting to offer assistance, always ask an individual with disabilities how you can best assist them, and whether there are any items that they require. Once in a safe place, ask them if there is anyone they would like contacted.
  • You may assist in evacuating disabled individuals if it does not place you in personal danger. Note: non-emergency personnel should never attempt to move anyone.
  • Assist blind/visually impaired individuals by assisting them to safety. Ask the individual needing assistance to hold your arm as you guide them.
  • Assist individuals who are unable to use the stairs by guiding them to an enclosed stairwell (one that is separated from the main building area by doors). Close the doors to the stairwell tightly and notify emergency personnel of the individual's location (UHPD 713-743-3333).