Fire professionals remind people with disabilities of fire safety tips – Greeley Tribune

One in four adults in the United States lives with a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which makes fire safety, prevention and planning more crucial for this segment of the population and their families.

The US Fire Administration’s Fire Safety Outreach Materials for People with Disabilities document said that approximately 700 home fires occur each year involving people with physical disabilities and 1,700 involving people with intellectual disabilities. The main location of these fires is in kitchens and cooking areas.

Managers and organizations share tips for educating people with disabilities of all types on how to protect themselves from a fire.

The first step is to plan around the abilities of the person living with a disability to better understand their fire risk, according to the USFA. The National Fire Protection Association provides a Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide which covers five categories of disabilities: mobility, hearing, speech, cognitive and visual.

The USFA shared the importance of installing and maintaining an alarm that helps its capabilities. To begin with, every person with a disability should have fire alarms in their residence. And every level and room should have an alarm.

Officials suggest testing alarm batteries once a month and changing the batteries at least once a year. If someone doesn’t have the mobility to reach the alarm, get help setting up or testing the alarms from a building manager, friend or relative.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing should install fire alarms with flashing lights, emergency call systems or vibrating cushions. Alarms producing strobe lights are also available.

The USFA advises people with disabilities to live near an exit and to live on the ground floor of a building.

“While you have the legal right to live anywhere you want, you will be safer downstairs if you live in an apartment building,” the USFA webpage says. “Being on the ground floor and near an exit will make your escape easier.

The next step in the plan for people with disabilities is to know their escape plan. For example, those who need a wheelchair should make sure that they can go through all of their doors and that there are exit ramps.

USFA encourages people with intellectual and physical disabilities to have two exits from every room in their home or apartment. People with disabilities should always keep items essential to their needs, such as hearing aids, glasses or wheelchairs, within easy reach.

The NFPA Evacuation Guide also includes four evacuation elements for all categories of disabilities:

  1. Notification: what is urgency?
  2. Finding your way: where is the exit?
  3. Using the path: Can the person go out on their own or do they need help?
  4. Assistance: What kind of assistance do they need?

One of the most important things a person with a disability can do is tell their family, neighbors and building managers about their fire safety plan and put it into practice on their own or with help from them. other people.

The USFA suggests people stay in touch with local fire departments by calling their non-emergency line to hear ideas for evacuation plans that meet their needs and to keep their information on file. People with disabilities should always have access to a telephone when they are in bed.

“Millions of people live with physical and mental disabilities,” according to USFA. “Having a physical or mental disability doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself and your family from fires. “

About Marion Alexander

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