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What It Was Like Evacuating During a Fire Alarm as a Wheelchair User

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What happens to people in wheelchairs in a fire emergency after they shut down the elevators? I found out. I just finished occupational therapy when the alarm started flashing.

The voice came over the PA: “This is not a drill. The elevators have been shut down. Please go to the stairways. Staff will help people using wheelchairs and others who need assistance.” The staircases got stacked up, so we waited in the hall a few long minutes.

No one was freaking out, but it was tense. An OT came to me: “We’ll have to transfer you to a lighter push chair, or the medi-lift.” I said, “Whatever you think best.” I u-turned in the crowded hallway and we backtracked to the gym, where three OTs lifted me onto the medi-lift.

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