It is important for all individuals to take ownership of their personal safety by establishing a personal emergency plan and arming themselves with information about emergency procedures before an emergency happens. Individuals with disabilities should follow the general guidance contained in the Emergency Resources Guide as well as the specific instructions provided below. The university strongly urges all students, faculty and staff to register for emergency text and email alerts, and watch the five-minute emergency preparedness video to learn the appropriate response to a variety of emergency situations.
At the beginning of each semester, individuals who have disabilities that impair their mobility are responsible for informing their supervisors/resident assistants and TU's Office of Environmental Health and Safety (x4-2949; safety AT_TOWSON) of information pertaining to their identification and location in case of an emergency. This includes the individuals' names, building names and room numbers, as well as the nature of their impairments and the type of assistance needed in an emergency. The information will be stored with the Office of Public Safety and given to the Baltimore County Fire Department during emergencies. The rescue of individuals with disabilities who are unable to evacuate themselves will be an initial priority for responding fire units.
Every individual should work with university officials, including the Office of Emergency Preparedness and respective building coordinators, 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:
Individuals should familiarize themselves with, and follow the guidance of, the Emergency Resources Guide (PDF) for the appropriate response to various types of emergencies. The guide dictates two basic responses to emergency situations: shelter in place, wherein individuals locate and remain in a safe area within their general vicinity, or evacuate, in which individuals leave their building. The university's emergency communications will indicate which step to follow in case of emergencies; however it is best that members of the campus community develop a basic knowledge of which response is appropriate for various situations so that they can respond to the emergency as quickly as possible. Individuals with disabilities should follow the responses outlined in the Emergency Resources Guide but make accommodations for situations in which elevators are inaccessible, precluding evacuation.
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 the Baltimore County Fire Department to arrive. The Fire Department and University Police will attempt to check all areas, including restrooms, to communicate the need to evacuate. Individuals with disabilities should immediately notify 9-1-1 if they are unable to evacuate as directed in an emergency situation.
Enclosed building stairwells have a higher fire resistive 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 responding fire fighters to report the location of those in the stairwell. If you cannot get to an enclosed stairwell, follow the instructions below for being trapped.
Individuals should shelter in place during some emergencies, including weather events, active shooter scenarios, and hazardous material spills. Individuals who are unable to get to an enclosed stairwell during an evacuation should also shelter in place. Directions for how to best shelter in place for each of these scenarios are available in the Emergency Resources Guide. All students, faculty and staff receive a hard copy of the guide during orientation. Copies of the guide are also available in many classrooms on campus, and can be requested through Environmental Health & Safety Office.
In an emergency, community members should assist individuals with disabilities in the following ways:
Individuals with disabilities who need assistance leaving a building in a non-emergency situation (such as an elevator or power outages) should contact the Towson University Police Department at 410-704-2133. The TUPD will send personnel to the location to assess the situation and either assist the individual or contact proper personnel for further assistance. TU personnel will remain on the scene until the issue is resolved.
In the event of elevator cars stuck between floors, no removal of passengers will be performed until the car is properly leveled.