In order to maintain the safety of all staff here at the PSESD, we have developed a new Emergency Preparedness Accommodation Procedure to ensure that we are prepared to support the unique needs of staff with disabilities in the event staff must evacuate the building. This begins with identifying individuals in need of accommodations (assistance) to exit the building. Employees will be responsible for notifying Human Resources if they have limitations that may affect their ability to evacuate in an emergency. Human Resources will track accommodation requests and will advise Facilities so that they can partner with employees to put the proper supports in place. The Agency does not assume individuals with visible disabilities will need assistance during a drills or evacuations. For example, many individuals who are blind may prefer to walk down stairs unassisted. We trust that staff with disabilities are generally in the best position to assess their particular needs. This new procedure includes general accommodations, such as:
- The facility is equipped with emergency alarms and signs showing the emergency exit routes. These alarms and signs are accessible and maintained in proper working order.
- PSESD recommends the use of a “buddy system” for all employees, particularly employees who have requested an accommodation. A buddy system involves employees working in teams so they can locate and assist each other in emergencies. Employees who have a need for an accommodation, shall work with their supervisor and team to identify a buddy (buddies) that is capable and willing to assist the employee needing an accommodation during an emergency. Supervisors and Facilities are responsible for working with employees to understand exactly what kind of assistance is required and ensuring that such assistance is deployed during an emergency. Ideally, evacuation buddies should work near the staff person so they can respond quickly during an emergency.