Home Safety Tips for People with Disabilities
Millions of Americans have a disability that could affect their ability to hear a smoke alarm or get out of a building quickly in an emergency. At any moment anyone could become part of this group — for maybe a short time or maybe for a long time. Be sure your home has important fire safety features and have a fire escape plan. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Melbourne Fire Department recommend the following:
Home Fire Sprinklers
- When choosing an apartment or home, look for one that has home fire sprinklers. Home fire sprinklers protect lives by keeping fires small, which allows more time to escape a fire.
- Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room. They should also be outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
- Test your smoke alarm at least once a month by pushing the test button. If you can’t reach the alarm, ask for help.
- For added safety, interconnect the smoke alarms so that if one sounds, they all sound. This gives more time to escape.
- Smoke alarms with sealed (long-life) batteries work for up to 10 years. They can be helpful for people who find it hard to change batteries.
- People who are deaf or hard of hearing should install smoke alarms and alert devices that have strobe lights that flash when the smoke alarm sounds. A pillow- or bed-shaker that is triggered by a smoke alarm can wake people who cannot hear an alarm. For those who have some hearing loss, devices that emit a loud, mixed, low-pitched sound alert may be useful.
- Include everyone in home escape planning and home fire drills. Have two ways out and practice them each to ensure everyone can get out. Each person should have input about the best ways to escape.
- Keep a phone by your bed in case you can’t escape and need to call for help.
- Ask someone from your local fire department to review your home escape plan and find out if they keep a directory of people who may need extra help. Melbourne Fire Prevention officers do public education visits at community centers or anywhere else requested. Call 321-608-7910 for more information.
- If you have a service animal, agree on a plan to keep the animal with you during an emergency.
For more information, please see the NFPA’s Home Safety for People with Disabilities tip sheet. The NFPA has additional educational material including guides and videos on the NFPA website.
These tips were reproduced from NFPA’s website, www.nfpa.org/publiceducation. ©NFPA.