Hannibal Fire Department offers fire safety information, resources for people with special needs

For the Courier-Post
Posted: Apr. 24, 2019 3:03 pm

Over 43 million Americans have a disability, mostly ranging from mobility, visual, hearing, speech, and cognitive. Some of these disabilities are short-term, while most are chronic.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, each year approximately 700 home fires involve people with physical disabilities, while around 1,700 home fires involve people with mental disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities have more difficulty escaping their home during a fire. For this reason, it is especially important for friends, relatives, and caregivers to help emergency personnel ahead of time, eliminating fire hazards and supplying equipment to warn personnel of a fire. Of course, your local firefighters are also a great source of help when preventing fires in your home.

Here is a list of safety measures for those with a disability in their household:

  • For someone who is deaf or hard of hearing

    • Smoke detectors on every floor, interconnect alarms

    • Smoke detectors with vibrating pad or flashing/strobe light

Other safety measures include:

  • Home Sprinkler System

  • Eliminate Fire Hazards in the Home

  • Live on the ground floor, near an exit

  • Determine if there is a need for exit ramps or widened doorways

  • Keep your phone, glasses, hearing aid, cane or wheelchair close to your bed

  • Keep fire extinguisher close to bed

  • Practice escape plan with other residents of the home or neighbors and know two exits from every room

  • If possible, someone in the home should be assigned to help a person with disabilities escape in the event of a fire

  • Contact your local dispatch’s nonemergency line and request them to keep your household’s special needs on file

Reach out to your local fire department for assistance with an escape plan, fire prevention tips and/ or a home fire safety inspection. Remember to regularly practice your escape plan and test your smoke detectors.

For more fire safety information, visit and watch the Hannibal Fire Department Facebook page for fire prevention tips.

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