Every year Canadians are injured or put at high risk because they have not stopped to consider what they need to do in an emergency situation. There are many quick and easy steps you can take to prevent and reduce the risk of fires in your home. There are also many measures and processes you can implement to ensure that you are fully prepared in the event of a fire or other emergency.
It is an unfortunate reality that seniors or those with disabilities are at a significantly higher risk to be injured in a fire than others. This is often a result of a number of causes such as the inability to exit the space quickly or independently, the inability to hear the alarm, or simply not being prepared with an appropriate safely plan.
When planning for an emergency fire situation it is important to be aware of exactly what disabilities are present in the household and how you can help customize your home for maximum fire prevention and safety based on the individual’s needs.
It is important to consider things such as fire extinguisher locations and alarm placement and volume. Are fire extinguishers easy to reach from a wheelchair or other mobility device? Are they located in more than one place? Do you have the appropriate smoke and fire alarms and are they all operating correctly? Are they placed in an area where they are effective and everyone can hear them? Are there members of the household who are hard of hearing? These devices are designed to protect us in the event of a fire emergency. They will do us no good if they are not operating correctly or are unreachable when needed.
Evacuation is always necessary in the case of a fire. It is crucial that you consider those who are able to evacuate independently and those who may require assistance. Consider multiple evacuation routes. By having at least two accessible escape routes greatly increases your ability to exit your home safely. These separate routes should be located away from each other and should never intersect to ensure that at least one route is safe and useable in the even of a fire or other evacuation emergency. It is important to ensure that your evacuation routes are always available, always keep your evacuation routes consistently clear of hazards such as furniture or toys. Often during an emergency, electricity is not dependable. If the home utilizes an elevator or a lift for an occupant with limited mobility it is important to ensure that the lift or elevator is approved for use in an emergency situation. It is also recommend that you take into consideration the need for a back up generator in the event the main power supply is cut off.
Proper communication is an extremely vital factor that can determine the overall effectiveness of your emergency plan. Always ensure that everyone is able to communicate clearly and effectively during an emergency situation. Consider those with limited hearing and sight, or children who rely on adults for their safely and who may require calm and simple communication in order to be able to follow the plan effectively.
Fire safety plans are important to include in any household, and they don't need to be complex. Often the simplest emergency plan is the most effective. If you happen to have specific or complex inquiries or if you imply need to know the best place to start, remember that your local fire department is always available to hep you in designing and implementing the best possible fire safety plan for your household.
For more information on how you or a loved one can build a Home for Life™ please contact us.