Approximately 4,000 Americans die 20,000 are injured in fires each year. The risk of death or injury from fire is even greater for people with physical, mental or sensory disabilities. The good news is deaths resulting from failed emergency escapes are preventable through preparation.
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) want people with disabilities, their caregivers and all Americans to know that there are special precautions you can take to protect yourself and your home from fire:
UNDERSTANDING THE RISK
- Smoke alarms with a vibrating pad or flashing light are available for the deaf or hard of hearing. Additionally, smoke alarms with a strobe light outside the house to catch the attention of neighbors, and emergency call systems for summoning help are also available.
- Ask the manager of your building, or a friend or relative to install at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are tested monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
- If you live in a multi-story home, arrange to sleep on the first floor.
- Being on the ground floor and near an exit will make your escape easier.
- Know at least two exits from every room.
- If you use a walker or wheelchair, check all exits to be sure you get through the doorways.
- Make any necessary accommodations, such as providing exit ramps and widening doorways, to facilitate an emergency escape.
- Speak to your family members, building manager, or neighbors about your fire safety plan and practice it with them.
- Contact your local fire department's non-emergency line and explain your special needs. They will probably suggest escape plan ideas, and may perform a home fire safety inspection and offer suggestions about smoke alarm placement and maintenance.
- Ask emergency providers to keep your special needs information on file.
- Keep a phone near your bed and be ready to call 911 or your local emergency number if a fire occurs.