AU Public Safety & Security/Emergency Management
(334) 844-8888
(334) 750-9795 (24/7)

Office of Accessibility
(334) 844-2096

Office of Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity
(334) 844-4794

Preparedness for Functional Needs

The information on this page is intended for anyone who may need special assistance in taking the individual safety actions described in the Auburn University emergency guidelines.  Whether you have a disability, functional needs, medical condition, or an injury that impacts your mobility, sight or hearing, you may need to make alternate plans or get extra assistance in an emergency.

The individual actions described in the hazard-specific emergency guidelines to the left still apply, but the execution may need to be altered to account for your circumstances.  No one set of guidelines can cover every emergency condition or every individual’s needs. Please consider the following recommendations.

Evacuation Concerns

If you are unable to evacuate:

  • Act! Take steps to protect yourself.
  • Dial 911. Tell the dispatcher your location and need for assistance evacuating.
  • Move to an Area of Refuge or toward an exit, if possible. If not available, try to move to an exterior enclosed stairwell.
  • Have a person exiting the location notify emergency personnel of your location.
  • It is best to be assisted by trained responders; however, request assistance from other evacuees if the situation warrants immediate action.

Plan Ahead

Consider finding a coworker or classmate (or multiple people) to assist you during an emergency. Some safety needs specific to your circumstances can be considered in advance, such as:

How will you know that there is an emergency?

  • The AU ALERT System has a variety of components, some written and some audible. Make sure you know how to receive messages in a format that is accessible for you.
  • If you have questions or concerns, please contact Public Safety & Security (334-844-8888 or, the Office of Accessibility (for students – 334-844-2096), or the Office of Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity (for employees – 334-844-4794).

How will you evacuate?

  • Locate accessible evacuation routes (preferably more than one) and practice evacuating without the use of the elevator.
  • EvacuTrac evacuation assistance devices are available in some campus buildings. Identify EvacuTrac locations in your building. Find out if others in the building, such as Campus Community Emergency Response Team (CCERT) members, are trained in their use and whether the devices might be used to assist you in evacuating.

Where will you go if you can’t evacuate?

  • Areas of Refuge are available in some campus buildings.  Identify and learn about Areas of Refuge locations in your building. Ask your supervisor, Campus Community Emergency Response Team (CCERT) members or Public Safety & Security for more information.
  • If Areas of Refuge are not available, plan to move to an exterior enclosed stairwell, if possible.

What special needs might you need to consider if you can’t evacuate?

  • Consider the following:
  • Specific medical supplies;
  • Critical power needs;
  • Service animal needs;
  • Medical monitoring;
  • Dietary needs and life threatening allergies.
  • Maintain emergency supplies with you to meet these needs, if possible.



Areas of Refuge are areas specifically designed to assist with rescue of individuals who cannot safely evacuate a building. They are designed into all new campus buildings with three or more stories. These areas are usually located at stairwell landings and are clearly marked with signage. Areas of Refuge also have a two-way communication panel to allow individuals to communicate directly with emergency responders.

Last Updated: Mar. 18, 2015

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