Fire Safety for the Visually Impaired
Over 11 million Americans are visually impaired. During a fire
emergency, the senses that visually impaired persons rely upon have a
high probability of being overpowered.
The visually impaired population is encouraged to practice the
following precautionary steps to help protect themselves, their home and
their surroundings from the danger of fire.
INSTALL AND MAINTAIN SMOKE ALARMS
- Make sure working smoke alarms are installed on each level of your
home. You may want a family member or friend to assist you.
- Remember to test smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries at
least once a year. You may want a family member or friend to assist
- Audible alarms should pause with a small window of silence between
each successive cycle so that blind or visually impaired people can
listen to instructions or voices of others.
DONíT ISOLATE YOURSELF
It is important that older adults speak up Ė 70% of the severely
visually impaired population is over the age of 65.
- Speak to your family members, building manager, or neighbors about
your fire safety plan and practice it with them.
- Ask emergency responders to keep your special needs information on
- Contact your local fire departmentís non-emergency line and
explain your special needs. They will probably suggest escape plan
ideas, and may perform a home fire safety inspection and offer
suggestions about smoke alarm placement.
LIVE NEAR AN EXIT AND PLAN YOUR ESCAPE
Youíll be safest on the ground floor if you live in an apartment
building. If you live in a multi-story home, arrange to sleep on the
- Being on the ground floor and near an exit will make your escape
- If necessary, have a ramp available for emergency exits.
- Unless instructed by the fire department, never use an elevator
during a fire.
- If you encounter smoke, stay low to the ground to exit your home.
- Once out, stay out, and call 911 or your local emergency number
from a neighborís house.
BE FIRE-SAFE AROUND THE HOME
- When cooking, never approach an open flame while wearing loose
clothing and donít leave cooking unattended. Use a timer to remind
you of food in the oven.
- Donít overload electrical outlets of extension cords.
- Never use the oven to heat your home. Properly maintain chimneys
and space heaters.
- Keep a phone near your bed and be ready to call 911 or your local
emergency number if a fire occurs.
KNOW YOUR ABILITIES
Remember, fire safety is your personal responsibility ...
Fire Stops With You!
For More Information Contact:
Edinburg Fire & Burn Prevention
212 W. McIntyre St.
Edinburg, TX 78539
The United States Fire Administration
Office of Fire Management Programs
16825 South Seton Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
Or visit the USFA website: www.usfa.fema.gov