Stop and be safe

Fire Safety

Introduction > Take the Test > Fire Prevention > Be Prepared > Special Considerations > Smoking and Fires > Fire Safety Quick List

Special Considerations

More than 4,000 Americans die each year in fires and approximately 25,000 are injured. The risk of death or injury from fire is even greater for people with disabilities. These deaths and injuries are preventable through preparation.

Children, physically or mentally disabled individuals, and the elderly may require extra help during emergencies. When teaching fire safety, installing safety devices such as smoke detectors, and practicing fire drills, you may also want to consider:

Why are people with disabilities at risk?

Install and maintain smoke alarms

Live near an exit

Although you have the legal right to live where you chose, you'll be safest on the ground floor if you live in an apartment building. 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.

Plan your escape

Plan your escape and your capabilities. 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 exiting ramps and widening doorways to facilitate an emergency escape.

Don't isolate yourself

People with disabilities have often been excluded from the development and practicing of escape plans and fire safety drills. As a result, their vital input is omitted and their fire safety needs remain unfulfilled. Speak up to ensure that all parties receive the fire safety information that everyone deserves.

Location can make a difference.

Burns are not always caused by fire.

Small children and the elderly have tender skin. Sleeping with heating pads and electric blankets can be dangerous. Also, these individuals can easily be scalded, so remember to adjust water temperatures.

Not all clothing or bedding is fire resistant.

Be especially careful when buying clothes, mattresses, stuffed toys, etc. and make sure that these are fire resistant or non-flammable. Read labels carefully and fill out warrantees in case a product is recalled for safety reasons.

Alternate supports or assistive technology can help during emergencies.

Devices such as fire alarms or smoke detectors that have been modified for people with disabilities can make a big difference. Other alternatives include service animals that have been trained to assist people during emergencies, or partnering with individuals (coworkers or neighbors) and developing emergency escape plans.

Online Resources

Next: Smoking and Fires

Mountain State Centers for Independent Living