People with Disabilities Fire Safety Checklist

Approximately 3,500 Americans die and 18,300 are injured in fires each year. People with mobility, sight and hearing disabilities can significantly increase their chances of surviving a fire by practicing proven fire safety precautions.

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) encourages people with disabilities to use this fire safety checklist to help protect themselves and their home from fire. Personal responsibility is the key to fire safety - fire stops with you!

Understand the Risk

People with disabilities are at risk for a number of reasons:

  • Decreased mobility, health, sight and hearing may limit a person's ability to take the quick action necessary to escape during a fire emergency.
  • Depending on physical limitations, many of the actions an individual can take to protect themselves from the dangers of fire may require help from a caretaker, neighbor or outside source.

Have a Sound Fire Safety & Escape Plan

It is vitally important to make and practice escape plans. In the event of a fire, remember, time is the biggest enemy and every second counts!

  • Involve the assistance of a building manager, family member or an entrusted friend when practicing your fire escape plan.
  • Know at least 2 exits from every room.
  • If you use a walker or wheelchair, check all exits to make sure they get through the doorways.
  • Practice opening locked or barred doors and windows.
  • When a fire occurs, do not waste any time saving property. Leave the home immediately. Once out, stay out.

Develop a Home Fire Safety Plan

People with mobility disabilities should be encouraged to have their bedroom on the ground floor and as close as possible to an exit.

  • If necessary, have a ramp available for emergency exits.
  • Unless instructed by the fire department, never use an elevator during a fire.
  • Be sure your street address is clearly marked and visible from the street.
  • Know which local emergency services are available and have those numbers posted or memorized.

Inform Others of Your Needs

Contact your local fire department on a non-emergency telephone number and explain your needs.

  • Your local fire department will be able to help you with your escape plan and may also be able to perform a home fire safety inspection, as well as offer suggestions about smoke alarm placement and maintenance.
  • Ask emergency providers to keep your needs information on file.
  • In St. Charles County, you should complete and send in the Special Need Notification form (PDF).

Install & Maintain Smoke Alarms

Working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home dramatically increase your chances of survival.

  • Smoke alarms with a vibrating pad or flashing light are available for people with hearing disabilities. In addition, smoke alarms with a strobe light outside the house can catch the attention of neighbors or others who might pass by.
  • Smoke alarm batteries need to be tested every month and changed at least once a year. If you can't reach the test button on your smoke alarm, ask someone to inspect it for you.

Source: U.S. Fire Administration