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Emergency Procedures

Evacuating staff members and/or visitors with mobility disabilities poses unique challenges in any work environment. It is particularly difficult at the Senate because of the large number of visitors who may be in our buildings at any given time. Staff and individuals with mobility disabilities must be familiar with evacuation procedures. Within one week of hiring new staff or to accommodate visitors the office manager should contact the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness (202) 228‐6737, regarding further procedures and a staff briefing.

Prior to an Evacuation

  • Evacuations are typically ordered with little or no warning. It is nearly impossible to predict what your exact location will be when the evacuation is initiated, therefore familiarize yourself with the locations of Emergency Evacuation Elevators/Emergency Staging Areas throughout the Capitol, Senate Office Buildings, and Postal Square.

  • Make sure that emergency evacuation procedures are posted in each office suite in areas accessible to staff and visitors. The exit route and location of the emergency evacuation staging areas within the building should be readily available to visitors as well as staff.

  • Designated elevators are marked with Emergency Primary Staging Area placards. Emergency Evacuation Elevators must have smoke detectors as well as backup power.

  • It is important to practice a run‐through procedure with your staff so they will be prepared in advance of an emergency situation.

Evacuation Elevator Procedures

  • One elevator in each building has been designated as the Emergency Evacuation Staging Area and Elevator. A secondary staging area is also designated.

  • Capitol Police will take control of the elevator using special keys and starting at the building’s highest floor, the officer will stop the elevator on every floor and look for individuals waiting at the Emergency Staging Areas.

  • Most Emergency Evacuation Elevators are freight elevators with the capability to hold more persons than normal passenger elevators, and all are on a generator system that will provide backup power if necessary.

Evacuation Checklist: For Employees with Mobility Disabilities

When you hear the alarm sound:

  1. Locate your evacuation partner (volunteer who assists those with disabilities).

  2. Take your VRU (Victim Rescue Unit) Plus package and wireless emergency annunciator/pager.

  3. Move with your partner toward the closest designated Emergency Evacuation Elevator.

  4. If the nearest Emergency Evacuation Elevator/Emergency Staging Area is inaccessible, listen for guidance regarding the use of alternate elevators from United States Capitol Police (USCP).

  5. You may don your VRU Plus anytime you feel threatened by smoke; however, remember your best option is to relocate away from the threat.

  6. Wait for the USCP officer to arrive; if needed, have your buddy assist you onto the Emergency Evacuation Elevator.

  7. Once on the elevator, the officer will take you to the building’s exit floor where you can safely leave the building and report to your office assembly area.

Evacuation Checklist: For Visitors with Mobility Disabilities

When you hear the alarm sound:

  1. Provide your visitor with a VRU and move to the closest designated Emergency Evacuation Elevator.

  2. If the nearest Emergency Evacuation Elevator/Emergency Staging Area is inaccessible, listen for guidance regarding the use of alternate elevators from USCP.

  3. You may don your VRU Plus anytime you feel threatened by smoke; however, remember your best option is to relocate away from the threat.

  4. Wait for the USCP officer to arrive; if needed, have your buddy assist you onto the Emergency Evacuation Elevator.

  5. Once on the elevator, the officer will take you to the building’s exit floor where you can safely leave the building and report to your office assembly area.