The National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Home Safety Week campaign is running from 1st -7th October and is delivered by fire and rescue services across the country.
As part of the campaign week, NFCC is encouraging families with additional needs to review their fire safety plans and get in touch with their local fire and rescue service if they feel they need extra advice.
How can the fire service help you?
The help offered by fire and rescue services differs across the regions. But all fire services undertake prevention work to ensure their communities are safe.
If you or a member of your household has a mobility, hearing or sight impairment or learning difficulties you may be able to request a Home Safety Visit from your fire service. These visits take around 30 minutes and will give you advice in fire prevention and what to do if there is a fire in the home. In some cases they will also fit alarms if needed.
You can register with your local fire and rescue service if you or your child has a sight, hearing or mobility issue or if anybody uses oxygen in the house. This will ensure that a fire crew is made aware of your family’s circumstances in the event of an emergency.
Fire safety for disabled families – what does the NFCC recommend?
Install working smoke alarms – at least one on each level
Consider fitting additional smoke alarms in the most used rooms of the household. These are the rooms where fires are most likely to start. You should test them regularly to make sure they work. Make sure the whole family understands what a smoke alarm sounds like and what to do if it goes off. A great way to teach this is by getting children to help test them.
If your child has limited mobility, remote controlled or easy access alarms are available which can be tested from the wall instead of the ceiling. If your child has hearing difficulties, you can get smoke alarms which use strobe lights and vibrating pads. The Disabled Living Foundation can give you more information about products like these.
Fit a heat alarm in your kitchen
Half of fires in the home start in the kitchen. Smoke alarms cannot be installed in a kitchen as they would go off constantly due to steam and cooking fumes, but a heat alarm will not activate unless there is a fire. Children should never be left alone in the kitchen when food is cooking and don’t let them distract you while you are cooking.
Plan your escape route
The best escape route is your usual way in and out. Think about other routes you could take if your usual exit is not available and practise it. Children should be taught to Get Out, Stay Out and call 999. They should never try and hide from a fire.
If you think you or a member of your family may find it harder to escape if there is a fire then your fire service can help your family plan an escape route.
Gov.Uk has a really useful leaflet where you can read more about fire safety for people with sight, hearing or mobility issues. You can also follow the #HomeSafe18 hashtag on Twitter all week for lots more information about staying safe.