Student With Mobile Disability Pushes School to Plan for Evacuation

Although I usually do not post content from vendors, I found this story quite compelling. This story was provided to me via email as a press release by: Jon Ryan Account Executive | Black Twig Communications.

Student With Mobile Disability Implements Sustainable Evacuation Plan at San Diego Area High School

Image via MedSled

Image via MedSled

SAN DIEGO (April 29, 2015) – Lilly Grossman spearheaded and facilitated a sustainable school evacuation plan at La Jolla High School in San Diego using Med Sled® evacuation sleds, requiring students and staff to take training classes as part of their physical education curriculum. Lilly, a high school senior, uses a wheelchair due to a rare genome mutation that went undiagnosed for most of her life, and earned the Girl Scout Gold Award for implementing this project and also published two fictional books about her experiences living with a disability.

“During my sophomore year of high school, I discovered that my school didn’t have a safety plan that incorporated physically disabled students, nor a way to get them off the second floor in an emergency,” said Lilly in a recent essay. “By making this issue my Girl Scout Gold Award project, I helped make my school safer for all its occupants.”

After learning about the administration’s lack of a thorough safety plan, Lilly initiated the process of updating the plan and providing a way to evacuate all students from the second floor during an emergency. To gain support for the project, Lilly worked with the San Diego School District’s accessibility office and the 504 Committee, which oversees accessibility rights for students. Due to Lilly’s efforts, the district chose to purchase Med Sled®evacuation sleds to help evacuate students from the second floor, but Lilly found that no students or faculty were trained to use the devices during an actual emergency. Her solution: provide training in gym classes for the Med Sleds® and ensure their use during every evacuation drill at the school.

Lilly also organized an event called “Day in a Chair” after being referred to the sponsoring organization by a friend. During the event, students at La Jolla High School volunteered to experience being in a wheelchair for an entire day. To be eligible to participate, students first had to be trained to use Med Sleds®. The student body responded positively to the event, and the administration is considering making “Day in a Chair” a yearly event.

“I support the program. The plan is to incorporate training on the use of the sleds into our program each school year and during safety meetings with the staff,” said Chuck Podhorsky, Principal of La Jolla High School. “We will have signage up to indicate the location of each sled, and the sleds will be incorporated into evacuation drills when necessary.”

About Lilly Grossman

Lilly Grossman is a published author and honors student who has struggled for most of her life with an undiagnosed illness causing muscle weakness, tremors and severe sleep deprivation. After undergoing a genome sequencing procedure, Lilly was found to have mutations in two specific genes, ADCY5 and DOCK3. Lilly is a passionate advocate for genome sequencing as well as universal accessibility standards for individuals with disabilities. Lilly has earned a Girl Scout Gold Award for implementing a sustainable evacuation plan at her high school and also published two fictional books about her experiences living with a disability. For more information, email

About ARC Products, LLC and Med Sled®

ARC Products, LLC, based in St. Louis, is the number one manufacturer of cost-effective evacuation solutions, including the Med Sled®.  Since 2004, ARC has been developing products to support disaster preparedness and emergency evacuation to ensure that non-ambulatory individuals are transported safely in emergency situations. The Med Sled® is a compact no-lift evacuation device that includes an innovative, high-performance stairwell breaking system that allows the sled to easily descend down several flights of stairs in a matter of minutes. Med Sled® provides lines of products that address the evacuation needs of your smallest NICU baby to your largest bariatric patient. There are more than 55,000 Med Sled® evacuation devices currently in use in over 3,200 facilities nationwide, including hospitals, nursing homes, fire and EMS, schools and universities, government facilities and the US military. The Med Sled® holds three US patents for its design and is approved by the GSA. For more information, visit

For more information contact: Jon Ryan Account Executive | Black Twig Communications

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