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Key Points When Developing an Evacuation Plan

Amy M. Schlessman, PT, DPT, DHS

May 31, 2016

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Question

What are a couple key point when developing an evacuation plan for a special needs individual?  

Answer

A critical piece of making the plan is the escape route and the safe place. You want to look at the best route and an alternative route. Have both, plan A and plan B, and map it out. Think about the entire process including doors, windows, stairs, collapsible ladders, auditory alarms, porches, driveways, and elevators. Have at least two escape routes from each room. In addition to having two escape routes, educate the individual to practice the drills at least twice a year. Caregivers and patients (if appropriate) should get to know area and prepare for various hazards that may occur (tornado, fire, hurricane, flood, earthquake).

Learn about what to do in case of power outages and personal injuries. Have a first aid kit handy. Teach individuals that may be assisting you how to operate the necessary equipment. How many times do we see individuals not know how to open and close a standard walker? Also, make sure equipment is labeled with the individual’s name, phone number, address, in case individuals get separated from their equipment. Have a list of instructions on how to use the equipment with the equipment, and label it so it can be reunited with the owner if necessary. Consider having backup equipment. If the individual primarily use an electric wheelchair or scooter, have a manual wheelchair stored in a closet.


amy m schlessman

Amy M. Schlessman, PT, DPT, DHS

Amy is an Assistant Professor in the Physical Therapy Program and a Center of Teaching Excellence Faculty Liaison at the University of Findlay. She is the Website Co-Chair and Zoom Committee Chair for the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy. Amy has been practicing as a school-based PT for over 18 years, focusing on health promotion and physical activity embedded into academics and interprofessional collaboration, while closely working with educators, administrators, therapists, and parents. Her research on pediatric health promotion was published in Pediatric Physical Therapy. Amy also published, “Recycle Bin Boogie: Move and Learn with Recyclables,” a physical activity book combining academic concepts with common household recyclables. She has presented regionally and nationally on a variety of topics related to health promotion, active learning, school-based therapy, and special education. 


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