Emergency Preparedness for Individuals With Disabilities

It is important for all individuals to take ownership of their personal safety by establishing a personal emergency plan and equipping themselves with information about emergency procedures before an emergency occurs. Individuals with disabilities should follow the general guidance contained in the campus emergency procedures, as well as the specific instructions provided below. For help in creating a plan, students should contact the director of access services, at 816-501-4689; and faculty and staff should contact the Office of Human Resources at hr@rockhurst.edu or 816-501-4583. The university strongly urges all students, faculty and staff to register for Rockalerts to receive emergency notifications and to download the Campus Eye app to quickly report suspicious activity or campus problems to the Department of Safety and Security.

Preparing Before an Emergency


Students who have disabilities that impair their mobility are responsible for informing access services at 816-501-4689. The access office will provide the information to appropriate departments, such as Residence Life and the Office of Safety and Security. In cases of an emergency, these departments can help locate and assist you. Faculty and staff are responsible for informing the Office of Human Resources.

Information should include the individual’s name, class schedule with building names and room numbers, residence halls or office location, as well as the nature of the impairment and the type of assistance needed in an emergency. The information will be stored with the security department and given to the emergency responders as needed. The rescue of individuals with disabilities who are unable to evacuate themselves will be an initial priority for emergency responders.

Personal Emergency Plan

Every individual should work with the director of access services or the human resources office 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 to await assistance from emergency personnel;
  • communication tools to inform emergency personnel of the individual’s location, such as Campus Eye or calling dispatch in the security department at 816-501-4010.

Acting During an Emergency

Individuals should familiarize themselves with, and follow the guidance of, the campus emergency procedures, for the appropriate response to various types of emergencies. Run, Hide, Fight, evacuation or sheltering in place are the primary responses and the University’s emergency communications will indicate which to follow in case of emergencies. Members of the campus community should be familiar with each approach so they can respond to the emergency as quickly as possible. Individuals with disabilities should follow the responses outlined in the emergency procedures but make accommodations for situations in which elevators are inaccessible, precluding evacuation.

If you need assistance, notify the security department by using Campus Eye or call 816-501-4010 to provide your location.


Elevators should never be used in 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 security staff or emergency responders to arrive. Rockhurst security officers will attempt to check all areas, including restrooms, to communicate the need to evacuate. Individuals with disabilities should immediately notify the security department at 816-501-4010 or through Campus Eye if they are unable to evacuate as directed in an emergency situation.

Enclosed building stairwells have a higher fire-resistant 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 emergency responders to report the location of those in the stairwell.

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. Inform hearing-impaired persons of the emergency individually; do not assume that they know what is happening by watching others.
  • Before attempting to offer assistance, always ask individuals with a disability how you can best assist them and whether there are any special considerations that should be made or items that need to come with them.
  • You may assist in evacuating individuals with disabilities if it does not place you in personal danger. Non-emergency personnel should not attempt to carry anyone down the stairs.
  • Assist visually impaired individuals by guiding them to safety.
  • 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 security of the individual's location. You may stay with the person requiring assistance if it does not place you in additional danger and if there is another person able to meet emergency personnel to report the location of the individuals in the stairwell.

Non-Emergency Situations

Individuals with disabilities who need assistance leaving a building in a non-emergency situation (such as an elevator or power outages) should contact the Rockhurst University Department of Safety and Security at 816-501-4010. The security department will send officers to the location to assess the situation and either assist the individual or contact proper personnel for further assistance. Security officers will remain on the scene until the issue is resolved.

Important Contact Information

Police, Fire and Ambulance – 911

Rockhurst University Department of Safety and Security
Community Center and Security Building
Dispatch (emergency and non-emergency): 816-501-4010

Access Services
Massman Hall, Room 7