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Fire Safety for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Wednesday December 16, 2020 - Jennifer Prell
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Older adults--those over 65 years of age--are a group with one of the highest fire risks in the United States, in large part because they are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. Of course, many older adults also may fall into the other three groups, since the elderly suffer some or all of these impairments to a much greater degree than does the general population. People who are deaf or have hearing impairments, those who are blind or have vision impairments, and those with mobility impairments may face unique challenges in an emergency. Their ability to detect a fire or escape its effects may be hindered by their impairments. As a result, people with these impairments are at a greater risk of death or injury due to fire. As might be expected, many of the fire safety issues are a concern for all four groups. This commonality is reflected in the reports, particularly in the fire safety tips, most of which apply to all the groups. These safety tips are presented in an Appendix at the end of each report, organized in three sections: before the fire, during the fire, and fire prevention. The tips that are common to all four groups are summarized here: 

Before the fire:
• identify the nearest fire exit
• install smoke alarms
• live near an exit
• plan and practice escape plans
• involve the fire department
 
During the fire:
• get out and stay out
• test doors before opening them
• stay low and go
• what to do if you are trapped
• stop, drop, and roll
 
Fire prevention:
• cooking
• electrical safety
• smoking
• space heaters
• heating
• fireplaces

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