According to data from the 2008-2012 American Community Survey (ACS) there are approximately 45,000 adults in Fulton County living with self-care difficulty or independent living difficulty. The Fulton County Fire Rescue Department (FCFRD) encourages residents with disabilities to understand their risk and to follow a fire safety checklist to help protect themselves and their homes from fire.
â€śWe encourage our residents to have a sound fire safety and escape plan,â€ť states Chief Larry Few of the Fulton County Fire Rescue Department. â€śIt is vitally important to make and practice escape plans.â€ť
The Unites States Fire Administration (USFA) teaches that it is important for people with disabilities understand their risks. According to that organization, people with disabilities are at risk for a number of reasons:
- Decreased mobility, health, sight and hearing may limit a person's ability to take the quick action necessary to escape during a fire emergency.
- Depending on physical limitations, many of the actions an individual can take to protect themselves from the dangers of fire may require help from a caretaker, neighbor or outside source.
â€śPersonal responsibility is the key to fire safety,â€ť states Chief Few â€śPeople with mobility, sight and hearing disabilities can significantly increase their chances of surviving a fire by practicing proven fire safety precautions. In the event of a fire, remember, time is the biggest enemy and every second counts.â€ť The FCFRD and USFA recommend the following:
- Involve the assistance of a family member, an entrusted friend, or a building manager, when practicing your fire escape plan.
- Know at least two exits from every room.
- If a person uses a walker or wheelchair, check all exits to make sure they can get through the doorways.
- Practice opening locked or barred doors and windows.
- When a fire occurs, do not waste any time saving property. Leave the home immediately. Once out, stay out.
The Fulton County Fire Rescue Department wants all citizens to be safe. Persons with disabilities can contact the fire department at 404-612-5700 to discuss and explain their needs in the event of an emergency. The department can help with an escape plan and may also be able to perform a home fire safety inspection, as well as offer suggestions about smoke alarm placement and maintenance.