Fire safety needs to focus on individualisation when considering a safe home environment for those with special needs or disabilities. Here are some tips and suggestions to ensure your loved one is safe in case of an emergency and thus give you more peace of mind.
Questions to Answer
If you are the carer of someone who has a disability ask yourself these questions when considering fire safety practices.
- Can they capably operate potentially dangerous electrical or gas appliances?
- Can they recognise a potentially hazardous situation?
- Can they alert others if they—or others—are threatened or in danger?
- Would mandatory prescribed medications hinder response time or function?
- Are they mobile or would they need help extricating themselves from a hazardous environment?
Once you answer these questions, integrate your findings regarding these considerations into your household fire safety plan. Concentrate on how you can streamline efficiency and ease in addition to minimising stress, for all involved, should householders be confronted with an emergency.
Apply practical additions or modifications to your existing fire safety plan. Here are a few examples.
- Additional fire alarms, fire sprinklers systems or extinguishes may be required, or perhaps adjusting the positioning of the existing equipment to more strategically user-friendly positions.
- Consider the disability. If the person is hearing impaired you may need specialised alarms that flash or vibrate in addition to emitting a noise signal.
- Ensure existing exits are kept clear of all trip hazards.
- Consider adding a ramp or a trolley so those in wheelchairs can move safely around or out of the house.
- Ensure locks on keyed window locks function properly. Keep keys in an easily locatable position.
If you are unsure regarding the behaviour of your loved one, in an emergency situation, you may choose to have an assessment undertaken by a professional. This may help you to ascertain areas of concern and how you may best address them.
- If a person has no concept of hazardous risk you may need to consider master locking switches on electrical appliances to avoid accidents.
- Items that are highly combustible should be kept to a minimum within the home.
- Ensure all other occupants in the home are aware of preventative measures that need to be adhered to, in addition to how to implement the plan should an emergency situation arise.
When caring for a disabled person within your home, you need to be extra conscious not only of having a prepared home , but also being armed with the best possible plan and equipment. Preparation provides you with time in an emergency situation, and time can literally be the difference between life and death.