Fire in homes can happen to anyone, anytime that’s why it is highly advised that we take preventative and protective measures in order to ensure the safety of our loved ones. According to research, approximately 50% of deaths caused by home fires happen in houses that don’t have smoke alarms.
In every household it is recommended to install at least one smoke detector or alarm in every level of the house in order to increase the safety of everyone. This device can save our lives and minimize injuries and damages by alerting us right away once it senses smoke. It is of great help especially when a fire accident happens at night when everyone is asleep.
However, for families who have children in need of special care, this can be quite difficult. As a parent, you need to device a plan that would address your child’s specific needs in case of a fire emergency. Here are tips to follow in order to ensure the safety of your kids with disabilities.
1. Install fire alarms and extinguishers
It is already a known fact that every homeowner is required to have smoke alarms and fire extinguishers installed in their homes. Doing so reduces the risk of serious fire damage. For those who want to ensure optimum safety at home, it is recommended that you install extinguishers in every level of your house and place alarms in your kitchen, inside every bedroom and outside the rooms as well. For maximum safety, make sure that they are properly installed by a reputable licensed electrician.
2. Keep away all flame producing materials
Any kid has the tendency to tinker with all sorts of objects they see. To minimize the risk of fire, make sure to keep every flammable objects out of their reach especially flame producing items such as lighter, match and stove. As much as possible, prohibit them from playing in the kitchen where most fire producing devices and materials are located.
3. Create an escape plan and educate them on what to do
Children with impairments especially those who have cognitive disorders need to be educated thoroughly on what to do in case a fire happens. Prepare an escape plan ahead of time to make it easier for everyone to get out of the house once your smoke alarms begin to buzz. If you have a kid with cognitive disorder, you can take photos or draw the plan for him/her so he/she will be able to understand and remember all the necessary details. If you have a visually impaired or hearing impaired child, you can practice home fire drills with them so they may be able to remember the step by step procedure of the escape plan.
4. Install the right alarm that is best tailored to their needs
You have to take into account the individual and specific needs of your children. If you have kids with visual and hearing impairments, a strobe lights smoke alarm is your best option. This kind of alarm flashes a bright light and creates a really loud noise that warns and alerts them. You may install a bed shaking device as well that you can connect with the alarm so that you can be assured your kid awakens from his/her sleep during a late night emergency. If you have a child with cognitive impairment who does not respond well to the sound of a regular alarm, consider using a voice recordable one where you can record your voice to warn and tell him/her to leave the room as soon as soon as possible.
5. Ensure alarms are in good working condition
You have to make sure that your alarms are still working. Test them at least once a month. To test the alarm, push it and hold for a few seconds or minutes. You will hear an ear-piercing sound after a few seconds of pressing the button. If it creates a weak sound or makes no sound at all, replace the batteries right away. Also, consider replacing the batteries at least every year.
6. Inform the local fire department
Talk with your local fire department regarding your kids’ special needs so they may be aware of it. This information will also be made available to first responders if an emergency happens.
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