NATIONWIDE — If you are an older adult, or a person with a disability, it is all the more important that you plan an escape route in case of fire, according to the National Fire Protection …
NATIONWIDE — If you are an older adult, or a person with a disability, it is all the more important that you plan an escape route in case of fire, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
The group sponsors Fire Protection Week, and this year, the theme is “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape.”
Consider what you or your loved one can do, and in what areas you need help.
Remove clutter. A clutter-free environment cuts down on trips and falls, especially when you might be in a hurry. Clear clutter in hallways, on stairs and near exits and windows.
Make sure all windows and doors can be opened, the NFPA said.
Check exits. If you use a walker or wheelchair, be sure you and your mobility aid can fit through the doorways. Keep your walker, scooter, cane or wheelchair by your bed—or wherever you sleep—to make sure you can reach it quickly.
Keep eyeglasses, a cell phone and a flashlight nearby, to see and call for help quickly.
Consider sleeping on the ground floor. That can make an emergency exit easier, the NFPA said.
If you cannot escape safely, keep your door shut, place a towel or blanket at the bottom of the door, and stand near the window so fire service can reach you. You can use a flashlight to shine out the window to alert emergency personnel. Call 911 to let the fire department know you are inside the home, and where you are.
If you are hearing-impaired, install a bedside alert, such as a bed-shaker alarm. It works with your smoke alarm to alert you to a fire. Strobe light alarms can be added to your smoke alarms for a visual alert.
These devices can be found online or in most retail and hardware stores.
For people who are visually impaired or blind, the sound of the smoke alarm can become disorienting in an emergency. Practice the escape plan with the sound of the alarm to become familiar with it.
If you have a service animal, agree on a plan to keep the animal with you during an emergency. Be ready to explain to first responders that you have a service animal and that you have the legal right to have the animal with you, according to the ADA National Network.
When looking for an apartment or high-rise home, look for one with an automatic sprinkler system.
If you or your loved one has cognitive disabilities, talk to healthcare providers and the local fire department. Plans can be made that will work with the person’s needs.
Most of the information here is from www.nfpa.org/Events/Events/Fire-Prevention-Week/Escape-planning-for-older-adults.
More is available at www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Teaching-tools/Remembering-When.
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