Fire Safety for the Disabled

Fire Safety for the Disabled

Everyone becomes momentarily disabled in a fire because of the blinding smoke and poisonous gases, but those with permanent disabilities face an even greater danger.  Fires call for quick actions and responses.  Since disabled persons have made progress in overcoming obstacles in other areas, the Geneva Fire Department suggests they can win against the threat of fire if they plan ahead and make necessary arrangements.

It is important for the disabled to discuss their emergency measures with their family, friends, a neighbor, and the fire department.  They need to plan and practice home fire escape plans including emergency escape routes.  They need to install and maintain smoke detectors (some come equipped for the hearing impaired with strobe lights or motorized bed-shakers to awaken sleepers.)  Some systems dial local emergency numbers and play a message giving the location of the fire.

If mobility is limited, a ground floor dwelling is needed with special exits and/or ramps for escape.  Make sure all doors open outward.

In homes and offices, make sure windows open easily and make a note of fire exits for the disabled.  Remember, don’t use the elevator in a fire.  It can trap you.  If you cannot escape, stay low to avoid poisonous smoke.  Get to a window and open it for fresh air.  Hang something out the window to be noticed.  Call 911 and tell them where you are trapped.  Stay calm, stay low.

Know where fire alarms are located in your office.  Get a copy of the fire escape plans and adapt them to your needs.  Have a designated co-worker assist you in emergencies.  Notify others of any special needs in an emergency.

Dedicated to Our Community,
Chief Dale S. Arkenburg