This Emergency Evacuation Response Guide has been developed to provide you with practical guidelines to follow in the event of a building evacuation.


The intent of this response guide is to provide guidance and direction in regards to the safe and orderly evacuation of a building during emergency situations such as fire, chemical spills, natural disasters, bomb threats, etc.


Emergencies in the workplace can develop into disasters if they are not addressed in the appropriate manner. Disasters can either be "man-made" (fires, structural collapses, explosions, and chemical releases) or from a "natural event" (floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and lightning). This response guide provides guidelines for the implementing emergency evacuation. This Emergency Evacuation Response Guide applies to all college buildings, lease buildings and occupants.

Building occupants are required, to evacuate when there is a fire alarm activation. Any person failing to obey an emergency responder's order to evacuate may be subject to college disciplinary action or arrest.

Fire Emergency/Explosion

  1. Activate the fire alarm, pull station
  2. Direct people away from the hazard
  3. Safely leave the building via evacuation routes
  4. If you encounter smoke, the best quality breathing air will be nearest the floor
  5. Assemble at a meeting point at least 300 feet from the building (Parham Rd Campus, Goochland Campus) Assemble at the designated meeting point (Downtown Campus)
  6. Downtown Campus meeting point - across 8th Street at the VCU grassy area between the VCU deck and Cabaniss Hall
  7. Account for people in in your control
  8. Remain outside the building and wait for an "all-clear" signal before reentry

In these situations, the fire alarm system will serve as the primary notification system used to initiate a building evacuation. For additional information about fire safety, please refer to the Reynolds Fire Safety Plan on the Department of Police web site.


Emergency exit route signs are posted in the college's buildings. Each sign identifies primary exit routes, alternate exit routes, fire safety equipment, and AEDs. Faculty, staff, and students, should familiarize themselves with the building's primary and alternate exit routes in which they occupy.


An Area of Rescue Assistance is a location where individual who are unable to use the stairs may remain temporarily in safety to await further instructions or assistance during emergency evacuation. "Evac chair" are available in certain Area of Rescue Assistance areas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMnHbd9Zgig&feature=youtu.be.


To prepare individuals for possible building evacuations, supervisors, faculty, and staff should ensure that employees and students are familiar with the following:

  • Building fire alarm features and other evacuation signals
  • Assigned duties, if any, in the event of an alarm or emergency
  • Primary and alternate evacuation routes
  • Areas of Rescue Assistance
  • Procedures for personnel accountability using faculty class roster, etc.
  • Procedures for reporting missing employees to first responders
  • Other work area specific procedures related to emergency evacuation
  • Supervisors, faculty, staff, contractors and other employees must evacuate the building when the fire alarm sounds, or they are instructed to do so by a college official acting in his official capacity

The below procedures should be followed when a building must be evacuated:

  • If you become aware, of a dangerous situation that warrants an evacuation notify the Department of Police by dialing 5911 from a college phone or 523-5911 from a college or cell phone and report the situation and associated details if known
  • Use the stairs during an evacuation
  • Do not use elevators during a fire or evacuation
  • If you are unable to exit the building, go to the closest Area of Rescue Assistance and wait for help
  • Exit the building by way of the nearest exist
  • Assemble in a predetermined designated assembly area and await further instruction from emergency response personnel
  • Report missing persons to emergency response personnel
  • Do not re-enter the building until authorized to do so by the Department of Police or emergency response personnel


Persons with special needs, disabilities, or with mobility restrictions may have difficulty evacuating a building without assistance. Individuals who have mobility restrictions and are unable to exit the building should proceed to the Areas of Assistance to await assistance from emergency response personnel.

Faculty should make sure that anyone with special needs has the assistance they need to evacuate or reach an Area of Assistance. This may involve assigning one or more of the people present to help the special needs person. The colleges adhere to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The person with a physical disability on campus may be a student, faculty member, staff employee, or a visitor. Everyone should be familiar with procedures to assist the disabled in an emergency. Students may consider contacting the college's Student Accommodations for further assistance and guidance. The following procedures are acceptable alternatives for employees, students, and visitors with special needs:

  • Do not use the elevators
  • Sight impaired persons should develop a buddy system, or a volunteer be assigned to assist the individual during the evacuation
  • Alert the hearing impaired person to an emergency and offer assistance to evacuate


Rescue of mobility impaired or disabled persons will be the first priority of fire and law enforcement departments.

  • Mobility impaired or disabled person should go to an emergency exit and wait while the main flow of people passes. They should remain at the same exit until emergency personnel (fire or police) arrive to assist in their evacuation
  • Be prepared to abandon wheelchair or other devices used for mobility
  • Ask the person the safest method people can use to assist them. Seek out volunteers and make sure you have enough people to provide assistance
  • Once the person(s) with physical disabilities has been evacuated, proceed to assigned assembly area and make them as comfortable as possible
  • Faculty and staff are to assist the physically disabled in evacuating the building by utilizing the Evac Chair


Immediately following an evacuation, faculty, and staff must give an account of their students and staff members.


Emergency evacuation and fire drills are required for college buildings, in accordance with the Virginia Fire Prevention Code and International Fire Code. The Safety Committee regularly schedules fire drills. Failing or refusing to evacuate during a fire drill carries the same potential arrest possibilities and\or administrative sanctions for failing to evacuate.


Revised: 05/23/2019