8 Fire Safety Tips for People with Disabilities
More than 43 million Americans are disabled, and in Colorado, 21% of adults have some type of disability. Unfortunately, these ones also have a greater risk of starting a fire or getting hurt in one due to:
- Decreased mobility, health, sight, and hearing that may limit a person's ability to take the quick actions necessary to escape during a fire.
- Physical limitations. Many actions individuals can take to protect themselves from the dangers of fire may require help from a caretaker, neighbor or outside source.
To overcome their unique challenges in emergency situations, disabled ones, along with their caregivers, need to create a safety plan specific to their needs. Here are eight 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.
- For the hearing impaired, 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 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 that wake you up when a fire 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. Have a fire extinguisher nearby and be trained on how to use it.
- Live on the ground floor. Whether you live in an apartment building or a multistory home, you should arrange to live on the first floor. By doing so, you’ll be able to escape quickly and more easily in case of a fire.
- Discuss and practice your fire safety plan with your family, friends, building managers and/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 your 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 cell phone on or near you to call 911 if a fire or other emergency occurs.
Your Colorado home is where you should feel safe and secure. But often, danger occurs when we forget to pay attention to the simple things that could easily prevent a disaster. These risks are much more dangerous for people with disabilities who have special needs and unique challenges in emergency situations. However, with the right planning and preparation, you’ll help keep yourself and loved ones safe when a crisis occurs. And if you do experience fire damage, call Cyclone Kleen Up immediately to repair your home and return it to pre-loss or better condition.