Emergency Fire and Tornado Plans for SID/PID students

22 Aug

Last week, Jane was searching for stuff about autism and a certain combination of words (two, to be exact) and my blog popped up as the #1 result! That was a bit surprising and startling to her. It was news to me, too.

However, while doing another search, this blog came up again as the #1 response. So I figured since people were looking here, I might as well provide something useful. My search involved emergency procedures for children with severe disabilities. I was looking for something specific because I had to write some sort of evacuation plan for our class and include it in a folder used for substitutes. We sort of knew what to do, but we were seriously winging it. My own search did show up one promising link but I apologize for not being able to find it again! So I’ll give you what I have.

Basically, a fire or tornado drill is not the same for my students as it is for the rest of the school. It demands more effort and diligence on the part of the teachers and paras, but a substitute should be able to follow it since all my paras are experienced and I think all will go well if I’m not there. I HOPE that’s the case!

The following is an example of an Individual Emergency Plan which has the initials IEP, ironically enough. But I’ll just refer to it as the plan to avoid confusion. For some students, an individual plan may be very necessary depending on certain behavioral or medical issues. In the case of students in wheelchairs, lifting and pushing are important. In the event of a fire drill or evacuation, wheelchairs generally follow after all other students are evacuated, simply because they can slow things down for everyone. Since my classroom has its own door to the outside, that isn’t a major issue for us.

So without further delay, what follows in a sample Individual emergency Plan that I put in my substitute folder. Hopefully, it will never need to be used in an actual emergency!


Individual Emergency Evacuation Plan

Name: Generic “The Student” Dalton

Age: 16

Disability: Cerbral Palsy, Profound intellectual disability

Equipment: Wheelchair

Fire Drill Procedure

  1. A teacher or paraeducator will move assist moving the student out of the room, exiting out the back door after other ambulatory (walking) children have already exited.
  2. Special precautions should be taken when going down a curb. BACK the wheelchair slowly down the curb.
  1. Pay attention to grass or cracks which may catch the front wheels and stop the wheelchair abruptly.

4. If student is on the floor or out of his chair when the alarm sounds, two people should assist him back into his chair.

Severe Weather Procedure

  1. The student will be pushed to the designated safe area.
  1. If the student is on the floor or out of his chair when the alarm sounds, two people should assist him back into his chair to be moved to the safe area.
  2. Once in the safe area, two people should lift the student out of his chair and position him along the wall.
  3. The wheelchair will need to be moved out of the flow of traffic by teacher or paraeducator.
  4. A teacher or paraeducator shall stay next to the student or shelter his body in the event of an actual emergency.
  5. Two people should assist the student back into his chair to be moved back into the classroom.

Lockdown Procedure:

1. The Student will remain in the classroom and follow the classroom procedures.


One Response to “Emergency Fire and Tornado Plans for SID/PID students”

  1. Janelle Matzdorf August 30, 2007 at 10:24 pm #

    What about earthquakes? Typical students “duck and cover” under the desk. I’ve searched in vain for guidelines. Nothing official. My thought is to push the wheelchair under the doorframe of an interior door. But I only have one such door and sometimes there is more than one student in the class with a wheelchair. Ten years ago when I began teaching SH, I was told to just have the staff save themselves so that they would be available to assist students who survive. Hard to imagine that is the correct thing to do. Someone suggested that student should be handed a book or helmet to place over his head. That doesn’t seem practical, either. I think this is an area that requires addressing….especially here in Southern California.

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