Frequently Asked Questions


Cleveland Evacuation Plan FAQ:

Q. Will other transit providers such as LakeTrans be free like RTA in the event of an evacuation?

A. LakeTran reports that their service will be free and they are working with the City to address their involvement in this program. LakeTran and other similar providers do not have vehicles immediately available in the Downtown Cleveland area if an emergency were to arise. As a result, the delay while they respond could be significant and any restrictions on vehicles entering the city could compound the problem. LakeTran’s intention is to handle the evacuation in the same fashion as September 11, 2001 when it took them about 90 minutes to get busses downtown to evacuate their riders. If a more immediate evacuation is required, LakeTran, the City of Cleveland and RTA are working to arrange for RTA to transport riders to an outlying depot area such as Euclid Square Mall where LakeTran would pick them up. LakeTran also reported that a flyer explaining this had been posted on their busses earlier this year and they would re-post to make sure all riders are familiar with the procedure. We have requested a copy of that flyer for our web site.


Q. What should riders of the Rapid Transit system do if Tower City is closed?

A. In some instances when the Rapid Transit is not available, RTA would replace the trains with shuttle busses that would simulate the Rapid route on public streets. Riders should also be familiar with alternate public transit routes home (Busses that take similar routes to Rapids). A good place to get this type of information is the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s web site: If an incident directly effected Tower City and the downtown Rapid Station and required the immediate evacuation of the area, riders would be directed to one of the pedestrian evacuation transit hubs where alternate transport could be arranged. Finally, all evacuees are encouraged to listen to local media outlets for additional information on changes in routes, stops, additional directions, etc during an emergency.


Q. What are disabled / handicapped personnel expected to do in the event of a pedestrian evacuation?

A. It is not possible for the City’s emergency preparedness team to attend to every disabled person in the downtown area in the event of an emergency evacuation. In an evacuation, handicapped personnel should first try their normal method of transit (public transit, personal vehicle, etc). If a pedestrian evacuation is necessary, the City is asking that able bodied people assist as best possible. The majority of the people on our handicapped list are capable of walking short distances and would be encouraged to make their way on their own. For those few others who cannot even do this, we would work to get them assistance from their co-workers, ERC’s and building personnel as they evacuate. In a worst case emergency, the use of wheeled carts from the building may be necessary. We encourage those individuals with challenges to prepare a plan as well. Select a teammate that can assist them in a crisis.


Q. Will we follow the downtown evacuation plan during our drills this spring?

A. No. Our annual evacuation drill is a building evacuation drill that would simulate an emergency impacting Landmark Office Towers such as a fire and is intended to familiarize building occupants with the proper way to get out of the building. The Downtown Cleveland Plan is an evacuation plan for the downtown metro area and is intended to speed the evacuation of the entire downtown population out of the metro area.


Q. Can we use the elevators in the event of a Downtown Evacuation?

A. This would depend on the circumstances of the evacuation. If conditions indicate that the use of the elevator would place people at risk, then you would be directed to use only the stairs. In a "precautionary evacuation" it is likely that the elevators would be available and appropriate to use.


Q. How will people who park in The Terminal Garage be effected?

A. Information is being distributed to these individuals and will also be available on our web sites soon.


Q. Why does the example evacuation plan document (ABC Company), list W38th and Lorain as a transit hub but not the West Side Market?

A. The example plan was one of the first documents generated by the City. After it was created, the decision was made to change the location from W 38th to W. 25th at the West Side Market. The correct location is the West Side Market.


Q. Can we walk to any of the other Transit Hubs in a pedestrian evacuation?

A. Yes, and you may have to if your route to the West Side Market is blocked or unsafe.


Q. If I walk to the West Side Market or Max Hayes High School, will Public Transit be available to transport me home?

A. No. Transit will not be available to take you home. It will however be available to take you to any of the outlying Major Evacuation Centers (shelters) from which you can make arrangements to get home.


Q. Where can we find out information on whether the building / my employer will be open for business following such an evacuation.

A. As far back as we have been able to determine, the building has never been closed. Even on September 11, 2001 the building remained open although the city had mandated that all downtown workers evacuate. Presently, the building and its owner, The Sherwin-Williams Co., make use of WTAM 1100 AM Radio to announce closings. Please listen closely to those broadcasts as it is possible that the building may remain open even though Sherwin-Williams elects to cancel work for its headquarters site employees. Your employer may have alternate procedures for closing and we encourage you to consult with your HR department or senior management.


Q. How can hearing impaired employees tell the difference between a fire evacuation and a specialized evacuation such as one involving the Downtown Cleveland Evacuation Plan?

A. We use the fire alarm system to give audible instructions and those instructions could vary substantially based on the situation. The visual strobes are not able to signal in different patterns, colors, or rates and the unlimited number of variations necessary to respond to different events would make creating a visual signal for each event nearly impossible. The best answer we have currently is to rely on your ERCs, co-workers and fellow evacuees. Your area ERCs should be aware of your condition and will be the first step in trying to get the information to you right away. Secondarily, observe the route people are taking evacuating from your office. If you are unable to communicate with them, follow the group to the first floor and then try to locate a member of the Security staff for assistance. Paper and writing supplies are kept at our posts and these will assist you in communicating with the Security staff. As a final step, observe the route people are taking once they get outside. All Sherwin-Williams employees gather at Gund arena when the evacuation is building specific. If the evacuation is a downtown metro area evacuation, very few employees will be heading towards Gund arena. You may also observe traffic control officers and traffic quickly reaching evening rush hour levels – if this is occurring in the morning or early afternoon, it is a further indicator that a downtown evacuation may be underway. We will continue to work on additional solutions to this concern and welcome further input from our ERCs and our building occupants. We encourage those individuals with challenges to prepare a plan as well. Select a teammate that can assist them in a crisis.