I was just wondering if any one has an emergency evacuation plan specified in their child's IEP and if they would be willing to share or give advice of what should be included and how it should be worded.  We ran into a situation last week where my 10 year old who uses a power assist wheelchair most of the time at school to prevent overfatigue and falling was asked to climb down 2 flights of stairs because the  school's only elevator broke down.  He was presented no other options to get to the first floor so he could catch his accessible taxi provided by the school home.  He was worried about being stranded at school so he climbed down the stairs praying the whole time that his legs wouldn't give out and that he wouldn't fall.  They had 2 custodians carry my son's chair down the stairs.  My son of course told me what happened when he arrived home and then I was notified by his teacher by email about 2 hours later what had happened.  I promptly sent an email back to his teacher, case manager and to the principal asking why I had not been contacted when the situation had actually occurred and why they did not use the evacuation chair.  They replied they didn't think it was necessary to contact me be they thought they handled it appropriately and that they only use the evacuation chair for emergencies and this was not considered an emergency.  They also said they didn't realize it could be dangerous for my son to walk down the stairs because his file only says that he needs to use a wheelchair because of fatigue, poor balance and high risk of falling. I also found out after questioning my son more- they have never had one safety drill this school year when they even practiced using the chair.  They always "evacuate" him from the building using the elevator before the actual fire drill occurs.

I have set up an IEP addendum meeting to add an "emergency plan" to my son's IEP.  I'm not sure what my options are if the school is unwilling to learn how to use their evacuation chair and I'm concerned about them trying to carry him down.  His classroom is located with all the other 5th grade classrooms on the second floor

We welcome any suggestions.  Thanks so much. 

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Wow, the school didn't think it was dangerous for your son to descend the stairs on his own because "his file only says that he needs to use a wheelchair because of fatigue, poor balance and high risk of falling"

How much more explicit can you get?

Thank you for raising this important IEP detail. I'll be checking what our school has planned.


Here's ours:

Back-up safety plan (in case elevator is not working):

**Please notify main office immediately**

1. Descending Stairs: Samuel will be assisted down the stairs with the Evacu-trac
emergency chair by a trained staff member.

2. Ascending Stairs: Samuel will hold the handrail with his RIGHT hand and an adult will
provide support/lift under his LEFT arm.
3. Samuel will use the adult bathroom upstairs in order to minimize stair use.
4. Plan transitions ahead of time: Samuel will transition before the class so that the stairs
will be clear.
Please note: Consider your physical ability when supporting Samuel on the stairs. Come find M*,
S* or S* G* if you cannot support Samuel going up the stairs.

1. During an evacuation there are three designated adults assigned to assist Samuel. Any of
these available staff members may accompany him through the evacuation process.
Classroom teacher, or
• S* L*
• S* G*
• A* B*

Alternate staff members in case of absences:


2. ____________ is the designated lead adult assigned to Samuel every day. If ___________
is absent, A* or another adult will cover.

3. Classroom teacher, or S*, A* or another designated adult, will assist
Samuel down the stairs and outside following appropriate evacuation procedure.

Emergency Procedure when DESCENDING STAIRS:

If Samuel is on the second floor when an emergency or drill occurs, DO NOT use the elevator.
An adult is to accompany Samuel to the evacuation chair located next to the elevator on the
second floor. If a trained adult is not available for some reason, Samuel can instruct any adult
in the use of the chair (there are also instructions located on the handle of the chair):

Open the storage door
Pull the evacuation chair away from the wall, lay on the ground and pull it out and up in a
quick, smooth motion. Check to make sure indicator on side of the frame is BLUE and in
the LOCKED position.
Open bottom two straps
Samuel sits on chair
Fasten strap around his abdomen and knees
Squeeze handle bar and push chair towards the stairs
Push chair to the edge of the stairs so that the back two wheels are as close as possible
to the edge of the stairs
To lower chair down the steps, continue to squeeze the handlebar. (releasing this bar
will stop the chair).
Samuel will exit the building using the main stairwell and doors if possible and meet
at designated area.

**Bagley currently has one evacuation chair and two students who are unable to use the stairs.
We are in the process of obtaining a 2nd chair. Until then, if both students are on the second
floor when an emergency or drill occurs, Samuel will bump down the main stairs with an adult.

S* (A* or other adult) will accompany Samuel back to his classroom once
evacuation procedure is complete.
During an earthquake drop and cover drill Samuel may go to the floor and cover but must be
assisted to standing by an adult.


Thank you so much for sharing your plan.  It is a very helpful model as we are now insisting that my son's school develop an individual personal safety/evacuation plan to add to his IEP as soon as possible, and suggested this should be standard procedure for all children with special safety issues attending the school.  We had wrongly assumed that the school already had a working safety plan in place.  At the beginning of the school year we were told there was an evacuation chair available and that someone trained would be able to get him down the stairs safely in the event of an emergency.  After this incident occurred and I probed further- I discovered only one person was trained in the whole school to use the evacuation chair and there is no designated back up person if she is not there.  Hopefully my son's school will become a safer place in the very near future.

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