​Earthquake and Fire Safety—How Those with Disabilities Should Prepare

Posted by Richard Cohen on 15th Aug 2022

  • Plan ahead. Say to yourself, “In the event of a disaster, how am I going get out of my home and to safety”. Make sure everyone in your home is aware of the escape plan and practices it at least every month.
  • Two Exits. If possible, there should be at least two ways of exiting your residence and if possible, two ways of exiting each room.
  • Communicate. Have a phone within easy reach day and night. This is very important if you are unable to evacuate or if you have any other emergency.
  • Outdoor Rendezvous. After leaving the home, arrange a nearby meeting place for everyone in the building to go to. Some examples would be a nearby parking lot, by the mailbox cluster, the greenbelt, etc.
  • Call 911. As soon as practical, call 911 and report the emergency. (If it is a widespread disaster like an earthquake, forest fire, or flood that affects a large area and a great number of people, it may take a long time for first responders to offer assistance. There are limited resources and many calls for help.)
  • Deaf? If you use text telephone devices because of hearing problem and you use TTY or TDD, call the TTY-equipped 911center in your community.
  • Smoke Detectors. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house. One must be installed in every bedroom, at least one on every level and in the hall outside of the bedrooms. Install one in the garage as well, if it is attached to the home. When replacing detectors, buy ones powered with lithium ion batteries that last about ten years. With ordinary detectors, check the battery every six months.
  • Window Rescue. Most bedrooms have only one way in and out. If you are unable to exit in an emergency stay as close as possible to a window where you can be seen by emergency personnel
  • Keep head low to the ground. If you must go through areas of smoke, keep your head as low as possible, and take as few breaths as you can.
  • Sprinklers. If remodeling, buying a new home or renting a new apartment, focus on homes with residential sprinkler systems.