The City of Titusville, Florida / NewsProtecting Our Vulnerable Citizens from FiresKnowing what to do in the event of a fire is particularly important for those among us who are the most vulnerable to injuries or death from fires--older adults and disabled persons regardless of age.
The majority of fire deaths and injuries occur at home. Approximately 3,500 Americans die and 18,300 are injured in fires each year. The risk of death or injury from fire is even greater for people with physical, mental or sensory disabilities and older adults. At age 65, people are twice as likely to be killed or injured by fire compared to the population at large.
The good news is that fire injuries and deaths are preventable through preparation and practice.
Safety Tips for Older Adults and Disabled Persons
To increase fire safety for older adults and disabled persons, the National Fire Protection Association offers the following general guidelines:
For further fire protection information, please contact Titusville Fire and Emergency Services Department at 383-5708.
Keep it low
If you don't live in an apartment building, consider sleeping in a room on the ground floor in order to make emergency escape easier. Make sure that smoke alarms are installed in every sleeping room and outside any sleeping areas. Have a telephone installed where you sleep in case of emergency. When looking for an apartment or high-rise home, look for one with an automatic sprinkler system. Sprinklers can extinguish a home fire in less time that it takes for the fire department to arrive.
Sound the alarm
The majority of fatal fires occur when people are sleeping, and because smoke can put you into a deeper sleep rather than waking you, it´s important to have a mechanical early warning of a fire to ensure that you wake up. If anyone in your household is deaf or if your own hearing is diminished, consider installing a smoke alarm that uses flashing or strobe lights or vibration notification devices, such as pillow or bed shakers that are activated by the sound of a smoke alarm to alert you to a fire emergency. To combat mild to severe hearing loss that may decrease ability to hear high-pitched sounds such as conventional smoke alarm, appliances can use a device that emits a mixed, low-pitched sound which is activated by the sound of a smoke alarm.
Do the drill
Conduct your own, or participate in, regular fire drills to make sure you know what to do in the event of a home fire. If you or someone you live with cannot escape alone, designate a member of the household to assist, and decide on backups in case the designee isn't home. Fire drills are also a good opportunity to make sure that everyone is able to hear and respond to smoke alarms.
Home fire sprinklers
Home fire sprinklers can contain and may even put out a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive. In choosing an apartment or purchasing a home, look for a residence that has home fire sprinklers.
Smoke alarms Test your smoke alarm at least once a month by pushing the test button. If you can’t reach the alarm, consider getting alarms that you can test with a flashlight or a television remote. For added safety, interconnect all the smoke alarms so that when one sounds they all sound. This gives,everyone more time to escape. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. They can be helpful for people who have difficulty changing batteries
Escaping from a fire Make sure that you are able to open all doors and windows in your home. Locks and pins should open easily from inside. (Some apartment and high-rise buildings have windows designed not to open.) If you have security bars on doors or windows, they should have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened easily. These devices won't compromise your safety, but they will enable you to open the window from inside in the event of a fire. Check to be sure that windows haven't been sealed shut with paint or nailed shut; if they have, arrange for someone to break the seals all around your home or remove the nails.
Protecting in Place. For those disabled or elderly persons who live alone, determining how to escape without requiring assistance is even more critical to surviving a fire. NEVER USE AN ELEVATOR AS PART OF THE ESCAPE PLAN. The disabled person is the best judge of his or her capabilities and how to plan for their escape. If escape is not possible, it may require that the person must plan to protect in place and await rescue. Practice turning off a/c or heat and blocking bottom of door to impede smoke from entering room. If smoke will not billow into the room, open a window and wave a white cloth or (at night) a flashlight to gain attention.
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