FIRE PRECAUTIONS AND DISABILITY
Under normal circumstances fire precautions are a very important part of our lives,
living with a disability, they become paramount, and an integral part of our normal
personal care program, which should be carried out as a matter of course, by us
alternatively, our carers.
The best way to fight fire is by preventing FIRE in the first instance this is a simple but
effective way of ensuring your safety and well being as far as possible in your normal
daily life without the safety standards applied becoming to a point where they are
paranoid by nature, boring and therefore ineffective.
IF we consider the prevention of fire as an art, we look at the overall picture and cut
down the fire risk factor as much as possible by.
ELIMINATION Removal of risk factor if it can not be replaced by
REDUCTION Reducing the risk factor by reduction of Combustible or
Inflammable materials Available should a fire occur.
First, we should be aware that three things should be present for a fire to occur.
FUEL THIS CAN BE. Any combustible or flammable material,
Liquids or Gases.
OXYGEN. Present at all times, normally.
HEAT. By friction, chemical reaction, or directly applied.
We will cover the basics of good fire prevention i.e. good housekeeping.
Do not allow rubbish to accumulate remove as soon as possible.
GLORY HOLES! A PLACE TO HIDE AND STORE THOSE ITEMS
WHICH WE WILL NEVER USE, BUT CAN’T GET ROUND TO THROWING THEM AWAY.
CAN BE A FIRE RISK, DEPENDING ON THE CONTENTS AND LOCATION.
CLEAR OUT THE UNWANTED ITEMS.
Do use metal containers or bins for rubbish any outbreak of fire within the bin will be
contained and any spread of the fire situation kept diminutive in nature.
Do take care with naked lights. Matches and Candles, Tea Lights.
Use Safety matches, and non
Do read and take notice of. Safety instructions on all items
That displays them.
Do not over load electrical supply sockets. Care with use of adapters and
Use correct fuses for appliances.
YOU MUST use a qualified Electrical Engineer or Gas Safe Engineer to check and carry
out any alterations or repairs required on Electrical or Gas appliances or installations.
DO NOT USE OR HAVE ANY NAKED LIGHTS NEAR ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIRS, BUGGYS,
ETC., WHILE ON CHARGE. HYDROGEN GAS IS PRODUCED DURING THIS PROCESS ON
SOME TYPES OF BATTERY, AND THEREFORE YOU MUST CARRY THIS OUT IN A WELL
VENTILATED AREA AND, STRICTLY NO SMOKING!
Do take care with appliances that radiate direct heat, electric or gas fires, where used
open hearth fires, these can cause fire by radiation of heat on to any combustible
items or surfaces, and remember some disabled persons can not readily feel the direct
heat applied Directly to the skin areas.
Do take care when using portable propane or butane powered gas appliances.
Do check for leaks with soapy water, Not with a naked flame; ensure that the gas
cylinders are only changed by a person who is familiar with the safety requirements of
SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION some items are liable to combust in a spontaneous way,
old dirty rags, dusters that are contaminated with polish, oil based paint, varnish, etc.
Store such items in closed metal containers.
SMOKING MATERIALS take extra care with all smoking materials, matches, dispose of
same with care, empty only into a metal container and ensure the contents are safely
SMOKING. OF COURSE YOU CAN SMOKE, BUT TAKE CARE AS ADVISED,
AND WHERE NEEDED, UNDER SUPERVISON OF A CARER ETC.
THE SUNS RAYS can be very Dangerous when Magnified through, Bottles, Ornaments,
aquariums, etc. Do not place these Items where they will catch the SUNS RAYS; the
sun Rises in the EAST and sets in the WEST.
COOKING Chip Pans and Deep fat fryers.
these are one of the most common causes of fire in the home, but if you follow some
simple guidelines you will keep your kitchen safe.
use a sealed enclosed thermostat controlled fryer as a safer alternative.
NEVER fill a pan more than one third full of fat or cooking oil.
NEVER leave the pan unattended at any time when the heat is switched on.
NEVER put food in the pan if the fat or oil begins to give off smoke.
TURN OFF THE HEAT and leave fat or oil to cool otherwise it could catch FIRE.
OXYGEN many people have available a supply of cylinders of oxygen for use in a
Emergency, or for normal every day life coping with a disability, OXYGEN is highly
Explosive in certain situations and a great supporter of FIRE situations, use with great
care as instructed, and observe strictly the NO SMOKING ban whilst there is an
oxygen enriched atmosphere Present.
AEROSOL CONTAINERS we all make good use of these containers around the home,
most are have readily combustible contents, and are explosive in fire conditions; many
have a flammable gas propellant to expel the contents, DO NOT USE NEAR NAKED
FLAMES, MATCHES, OR SMOKING MATERIALS.
CHRISTMAS AND FESTIVE DECORATIONS. Use where possible flame retardant
Decorations, observe the previous safety advice re candles, naked lights, festive
lights, and electric wiring and fuses etc.
ALCOHOL, YUM, YUM called FIRE WATER for a very good reason HIGHLY
FLAMMABLE treat with care any ALCOHOL BASED DRINKS, COSMETICS,
NAIL VARNISH REMOVER ACETONE, HIGHLY FLAMMABLE USE WITH GREAT CARE.
FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS AND GASES. STORE AND USE THESE ONLY
AS INSTRUCTED. IN CASE OF FIRE. NOTIFY THE FIRE and RESCUE SERVICE OF
THE LOCATION OF THESE ITEMS, IN AN EMERGENCY.
As stated before FIRE PREVENTION is a art, mainly common sense, think safe and
you will be SAFE.
FIRE SAFETY AND MEANS OF ESCAPE
The definition of MEANS OF ESCAPE IN CASE OF FIRE is that by your own unaided
efforts you should be able to make your way to a place of safety.
The above statement of cause forgets that we the disabled, can not always make an
escape immediately, and therefore require assistance of a carer or hope that a local
fire Safety assessment has covered all points and our means of escape has been
secured and all other matters of safety are in line with current legislation, the
requirements of the REGULATORY REFORM ( FIRE SAFETY) ORDER 2005 which should
provide additional safeguards in public areas, Health centres, doctors and dentists
surgeries, in fact anywhere you resort to as a customer, visitor, employee, or even as
a member of the public.
THE REGULATORY REFORM (FIRE SAFETY) ORDER 2005 IS THERE
TO PROTECT YOU AND YOUR WELFARE.
REFUGE POINT SIGN WHEELCHAIR SAFE ROUTE
1. Refuge areas, specially constructed areas, clearly marked for a place of safety
for the disabled to seek safety until members of the fire and rescue service
remove them to another point of safety, the refuge area, is basically a safe
room, fire resistant, and fitted with some means of communication where you
should be in a safe smoke free atmosphere until your full safety is secured,
these however will only be provided where the travel distance for normal
means of escape is Considered to far.
EXAMPLES OF EMERGENCY FIRE EXIT SIGNS
2. You will also find that, signs depicting a wheelchair symbol and directional
arrow to indicate a dedicated route for wheelchair users in an emergency,
there is also an upgrade of alarm systems, for the sight and hearing challenged
using Portable alarms issued on entry to the premises, and strobe flashing
indicators fitted to existing emergency systems to give warning they are operating.
And of course these days our Means of Escape should be al ways secured, in Hotels,
Cinemas, and places of Entertainment, shopping centres, etc.
DO COMPLAIN TO THE MANAGEMENT IN ALL CASES WHERE YOU FEEL
THAT YOU’RE FIRE SAFETY OR GENERAL SAFETY IS IN JEOPARDY.
IT IS A INADEQUATE EXCUSE TO SAY A PERSON IN A WHEELCHAIR OR DISABILITY
ANY CONSTITUTES A FIRE RISK, OR BREAKS SOME RULE UNDER THE FIRE SAFETY
BLUFF ACT, SOME PLACES OF ENTERTAINMENT USE THIS EXCUSE TOO OFTEN, THE
PERSON CAN READILY EXITED SHOULD THE NEED ARISE.
On entry to, or resorting to any unfamiliar location be aware that your SAFETY is
being looked after.
MAKE NOTE OF YOUR ESCAPE IN CASE IT IS NEEDED. Ask if you are unsure, if there
are printed Instructions READ THEM. Or ENSURE that you are made familiar with
IS THERE A FIRE ALARM SYSTEM. Are instructions at each fire alarm break glass
IS THERE SITED FIRE FIGHTING EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE.
When it was last serviced? The dated service label will give details and a good
indication of how serious the management views FIRE SAFETY!
ALTHOUGH IT IS GOOD SAFETY MANAGEMENT TO PROVIDE FIRE
FIGHTING EQUIPMENT IN THE HOME, I DO NOT ADVOCATE A PERSON
WITH A DISABILITY TACKLING A FIRE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE’S
FIRE SAFETY WITH YOUR TRANSPORT
All persons transporting disabled people are trained in the basics of fire safety and
the evacuation of persons in an emergency, such as fire involving the vehicle etc, the
vehicle will be stopped at the first indication of danger and passengers evacuated by
If your own car is involved, the same applies, stop at the first indication of problems,
i.e. smell of burning, sighting of smoke or flame, Leave the vehicle, move to a safe
distance and call the fire and rescue service by the Mobile phone which you should
always have available.
FIRE SAFETY IN YOUR HOME
Unfortunately there are few Fire Safety requirements placed upon the private person
residing in their dwelling, the safety of those in residential care of course is covered by
fire safety legislation, and now in most cases full details of the fire precautions are
given to the resident or relatives on entry or request.
ACTION IN CASE OF FIRE
HAVE A FIRE ACTION PLAN
When you have a quiet moment, consider what you would do in a fire situation,
involve your carer and ask the local fire and rescue service for advice if you feel it
A FIRE PLAN. YOU HAVE THE TIME NOW, NOT WHEN YOU HAVE A FIRE!
ENSURE THAT EVERYONE IS AWARE OF YOUR FIRE PLAN, carers Etc.
AUTOMATIC FIRE ALARM. Fit SMOKE DETECTORS as directed in the suppliers
Instructions, the FIRE ANGEL type detector, requires little maintenance and recharges
automatically, on other types, ensure that a battery is fitted, get your carer or
someone to check THAT the detector is in working order on a regular basis, and keep
a spare Battery if the detector requires one.
Knowing what to do and acting quickly, without panic will save lives, MAYBE YOURS!
SPARE BATTERIES DETECTOR
ON HEARING THE ALARM. DO NOT INVESTIGATE.
PUT YOUR FIRE PLAN INTO ACTION AT ONCE
THE BEST WAY OUT OF YOUR HOME IS THE NORMAL ROUTE, DO PRACTICE
YOU’RE ESCAPE PLAN, SLOWLY AND YOU WILL FIND THAT IT BECOMES
NATURAL AS POSSIBLE,
Ensure you can get to a point where you can. Get help or get out of the
SECURITY Vs SAFETY. ENSURE THAT WHERE WINDOW AND DOOR LOCKS
ARE SECURED THAT THE KEYS ARE READILY AVAILABLE AND YOU ARE ABLE
TO USE THEM, REMEMBER THESE MAY NEED TO BE USED IN THE DARK, ENSURE
THAT ALL PERSONS IN THE HOUSEHOLD IS FAMILIAR WITH THESE DEVICES.
MOBILITY WILL NEED TO BE ADDRESSED WHEN MAKING YOUR PLAN
IN ADDITION, ANY HELP REQUIRED WILL NEED TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT.
WHERE POSSIBLE IF YOUR INTENDED ESCAPE ROUTE IS BLOCKED,
A SECONDARY ESCAPE SHOULD BE IN YOUR PLAN.
IF A SECONDARY ESCAPE IS IMPOSSIBLE, MAKE YOUR WAY TO A ROOM WITH
OUTSIDE WINDOWS, CLOSING ALL DOORS BEHIND YOU, GO TO THE OPEN WINDOW
AND STAY NEAR THE FRESH AIR ,A GOOD FITTING STANDARD PANEL DOOR CAN
WITHSTAND FIRE FOR 15 TO 20 MINUTES.
CALL THE FIRE BRIGADE, ON THE MOBILE PHONE 999 or II2, LET THEM KNOW
WHERE YOU ARE AND MAKE ANY PERSONS IN THE CLOSE PROXIMITY AWARE OF
YOUR NEED OF URGENT ASSISTANCE.
IT MAY BE GOOD POLICY TO MAKE ONE OF YOUR ROOMS ,POSSIBILY YOUR
BEDROOM, INTO TO A SAFE ROOM, BY FITTING OF A PROPER FIRE RESISTING DOOR,
AND FULLY FITTED WITH SMOKE SEALS TO GIVE BETTER PROTECTION, THIS IS NOT
TO BE UNDERTAKEN AS A DIY PROJECT, BUT CONSTRUCTED PROFESSIONALLY,THIS
ROOM SHOULD HAVE
LAST THING AT NIGHT CLOSE ALL DOORS WHERE POSSIBLE, KEEP WITH
YOU YOUR EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT. A SURVIVAL PACK.
HOUSE KEY AND CAR KEYS WHERE APPLICABLE.
ANY IMMEDIATE MEDICATION
INHALERS, TABLETS ETC.
SOME WARM OVER GARMENT.
ALL THESE CAN BE STORED IN A SMALL BAG.
YOU MAY NOW BE SAYING THIS PERSON IS GOING COMPLETELY OVER THE TOP, BUT
AT 0330 AM THE ITEMS AND ANY OTHER ONES YOU WISH TO ADD TO YOUR
EMERGENCY BAG, WILL BE A BLESSING INDEED.
ONCE OUT OF THE PREMISES, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO GO BACK FOR ANY REASON
I MAY NOT HAVE COVERED EVERY THING IN THIS ARTICLE, BUT I HOPE IT
HAS MADE YOU THINK, TO PREVENT FIRE, AND BE PREPARED FOR FIRE OR INDEED
ANY EMERGENCY SHOULD IT OCCUR?
Dr JOHN STOLWORTHY D.Sc.
FIFPO FRCA(Hon) MIIRSM MInst.Pet
MFIAI MIAAI ICSM Dip.FCP AFICD
The Author may be contacted by E mail email@example.com
or by TEL 0208 566 6499
In the interest of Fire Safety this Article may be reproduced
FREE FIRE RISK SURVEY
AND FIRE DETECTORS
On request the fire and rescue service will visit your home and give advice
and fit free of any charge any smoke detectors required for you.
You will find their telephone number in the directory.
C. Dr JOHN STOLWORTHY D.Sc 2012