People with disabilities unfortunately have a greater risk of starting a fire or getting hurt in one. To overcome their unique challenges in emergency situations, they need to build a safety plan specific to their needs. Here are fire safety tips for people of any disability (physical, auditory, visual, and mental).
Install smoke alarms in every sleeping area and every level of the home. Test the alarms monthly by pressing the test button and replace batteries each year. If you can’t reach the test button, ask someone to test it for you.
If you have a hearing impairment, install smoke alarms and alert devices made specifically for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. They detect the sound of smoke alarms and flash strobe lights to alert you. Those who are hard of hearing can also opt for smoke alarms that emit a loud, low-pitched sound alert. Additionally, use vibrating pillows and a bed shaker to wake you up when an alarm sounds. Also, keep a telecommunication device for the deaf (TTD) phone in your bedroom close to your bed.
Always be vigilant when cooking. The kitchen is where most fires caused by people with disabilities start. Always supervise the oven or stove when cooking and use a timer.
Live closest to a ground floor exit. Whether you live in an apartment building or a multistory home, you should arrange to live on the first floor of a building. This way, you’ll be able to escape faster in case of a fire.
Discuss and practice your fire safety plan with family members, building managers or neighbors. Practice your fire escape plan with your service animal if you have one.
Let your local fire department know about your condition and explain your needs. They can perform a home fire safety inspection and suggest escape plan ideas at your request.
If you use a walker or wheelchair, make sure you can easily get through the doorways. If possible, design your home around your disability. Widen the doorways and install exit ramps to make an emergency escape easier.
Always keep a phonenear your bed to be ready to call 911 if a fire or other emergency occurs.
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