Fire Safety for People with Disabilities: What to Know

    Understand your fire risk

    • Having physical or mental disabilities doesn’t mean you can’t keep you and your family safe from fire.
    • Build your home safety plan around your abilities.

    Install and maintain smoke alarms

    • Smoke alarms with a vibrating pad or flashing light are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
    • Smoke alarms with a strobe light outside the home to catch the attention of neighbors, and emergency call systems for summoning help, are also available.
    • Ask the manager of your building, or a friend or relative, to install at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home.
    • Test smoke alarm batteries every month and change them at least once a year. If you can’t reach the test button on your smoke alarm, ask someone to test it for you.

    Live near an exit

    • Although you have the legal right to live where you choose, you’ll be safest on the ground floor if you live in an apartment building.
    • If you live in a multistory 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 around your capabilities.
    • Know at least two exits from every room.
    • If you use a walker or wheelchair, check all exits to be sure you can get through the doorways.
    • Make any necessary changes, such as installing exit ramps and widening doorways, to make an emergency escape easier.

    Don’t isolate yourself

    • Speak to your family members, building manager or neighbors about your fire safety plan and practice it with them.
    • Contact your local fire department’s nonemergency line and explain your needs. They can suggest escape plan ideas and may perform a home fire safety inspection if you ask.
    • Ask emergency providers to keep your needs information on file.
    • Keep a phone near your bed and be ready to call 911 or your local emergency number if a fire occurs.

    Downloadable Resources:

    Source for Content: United States Fire Administration

    For more information and resources on fire safety for those with disabilities, check out the full version of our website here.