Circumstances that may require evacuation include power failure, criminal activity, discovery of a suspicious object, fire, or an unexpected release of a hazardous material. Always remain calm and follow the directions given by emergency responders (police or fire department personnel), building managers, or other persons of authority.

Building Evacuation 

  1. Evacuate the building using the nearest exit (or alternate if nearest exit is blocked).
  2. DO NOT use elevators.
  3. Take personal belongings (keys, purses, wallets, etc.), if it does not delay your evacuation.
  4. Secure any hazardous materials or equipment before leaving.
  5. Follow directions given by building managers and/or emergency responders.
  6. Go to the assembly location designated in your building’s evacuation plan.
  7. Assist people with disabilities per the guidance below (see Evacuation of Disabled Persons). Disabled people can direct others on how to assist them with evacuation. University personnel should defer to the disabled person and only assist in ways the disabled person and University personnel feel comfortable. 
  8. DO NOT re-enter the building until directed to do so by emergency response personnel.

Large-Scale Evacuation

  • If evacuation of part or all of the campus is necessary, monitor UAlert, e-mail, and the University Incident page for additional information.
  • Those in need of transportation will be directed to areas to await transport to an off-campus site.          

Information to Know

  • Evacuation routes/procedures
  • What the fire alarm sounds like
  • At least two ways out of the building

Evacuation of Disabled Persons

Emergency Evacuation Process

In an emergency situation, an elevator may not be available.

If a person with a disability is able to exit the building without using the elevator, then they should follow the appropriate exit route.

If exit from the building is possible only by use of the elevator, a disabled person should follow these procedures:

  • In case of a fire, enclosed building stairwells are "areas of safe refuge" because they have a higher fire-resistive rating.
  • Move to the nearest “area of safe refuge,” which includes enclosed or exterior stairwells and remain there. 
  • Make sure the door to the stairwell is closed. Open doors will violate the "area of safe refuge" and will allow smoke, and possibly fire, into the stairwell.
  • Call or text 9-1-1 with specific location information and notify someone (like a coworker, supervisor, instructor, or building monitor) of their location. 
  • Anyone with location information should inform the fire responders that there is a disabled person who may require evacuation assistance.

Evacuation in Dorms or Residence Halls

In dorms or residence halls, if a disabled resident cannot leave their room immediately with or without the assistance of another person, they should remain in the room and call or text 9-1-1 with their location.

  • Note that First Responders are made aware of dorm rooms occupied by disabled residents who may need assistance in an emergency evacuation. First Responders are trained to check these rooms first. 

Evacuation Decisions

  • When stairwell evacuations are necessitated, such decisions and evacuations will be made by TFD. 
  • Disabled people can direct others on how to assist them with evacuation; University personnel should defer to the disabled person and only assist in ways the disabled person and University personnel feel comfortable. If there are any doubts by University personnel of their ability to safely assist the disabled person, the University personnel should defer the evacuation assistance to the First Responders. 

Non-Emergency Evacuation Situations

The following procedures apply for evacuation of a disabled person in a non-emergency situation such as an elevator outage. 

  • Call UAPD (621-8273) or contact 911. 
  • UAPD will send personnel to the location to assess the situation and contact Tucson Fire Department (TFD) for all evacuation scenarios. 
  • In the event an elevator car is stuck between floors, no removal of passengers will be performed until the car is properly leveled.
  • Improper evacuation techniques could harm the evacuee or their equipment. UAPD is not trained to evacuate disabled people so will yield to TFD in all instances.
  • UAPD personnel will remain with the person until egress is restored (i.e. elevator has been repaired) or TFD responds.
  • TFD will address non-emergency evacuations on a priority basis. This may mean a delayed response until TFD can respond.
  • UAPD will report elevator outages to Facilities Management or Housing & Residential Life Facilities for issues in the dorms. They will maintain in contact with TFD and Facilities Management or Housing & Residential Life Facilities to determine response time for repairs.


| Subject matter experts: UAPD/Risk Management/Facilities Management – Updated: April 2023