Advice for disabled people
If you have difficulty hearing, seeing or moving about you need to take extra care when dealing with fire risks.
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Disabled Living Foundation (DFL)
DLF is a national charity that provides impartial advice, information and training on daily living aids. It is a founder member of the Information Standard, a certification scheme for health and social care information.
The below information has been developed for people with sight, hearing and mobility difficulties and those who care for them. It provides practical advice and tips that will help protect you from the risk of fire.
Hearing impairment tips
- If you have a hearing difficulty you can get smoke alarms which use a strobe light and vibrating pads. Alternatively consider linking the alarm system, which can alert you of any danger
- In the event of a fire, if you have escaped from the property and it is difficult for you to call 999 yourself, ask a neighbour to do it for you. Also see the information below about the National Emergency SMS Service (ESMS)
- If you have specialist equipment, such as a text phone or minicom, you can contact the emergency services on 18000
Sight impairment tips
- Put a coloured sticker on your smoke alarm if you have trouble seeing it to test it, or ask your local Fire Service if they can provide a coloured cover
Consider fitting bump-ons (also known as plastic blisters) to appliances as a way of making sure they are switched off properly
- Check electrical leads regularly by touch. If they are frayed or faulty don't plug them in or switch them on. If electrics are giving off a burning smell turn them off and unplug them immediately
- You may also want to consider placing a tactile indicator along your escape route to make it easier to find the exit
Mobility impairment tips
- If it is difficult to test your alarm ask somebody to do it for you. You can also get easy access alarms, which can be tested from the wall rather than the ceiling. The Disabled Living Foundation can provide more information on these products
- If you have trouble moving around, consider fitting an intercom which will allow you to alert someone else in the house in the event of an emergency
- Make sure you have easy access to any mobility aids you may need, such as a walking stick
To find out more about fire safety advice for the disabled click here to view the leaflet (PFD document opens in new window).
Access to 999 for deaf, hard of hearing and speech Impaired People
There are hundreds of thousands of deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people in the UK who have a hearing or speech loss that prevents them from using voice telephony to contact the emergency services.
Text Relay is a service provided by BT that enables deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people who use textphones to make and receive calls to and from hearing people. Text Relay is funded by the UK Communications Providers with the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) managing the relay assistants who provide the voice to text translation.
A textphone or TalkByText user can contact the emergency services by dialling '18000'. This call will be connected to the 999 services and translated by a Text Relay Assistant. For more information on textphones and the text relay service go to www.textrelay.org (Link opens in new window)
The National Emergency SMS Service (ESMS)
The National Emergency SMS Service is an 'add on' to the existing 18000 service that is available in the UK.
It is a national scheme currently available that allows anyone unable to use voice telephony, to send a text to 999 using their mobile phones, which gets converted into a call to the emergency services.
The Royal National Institute of the Deaf (RNID) has been working with partners to develop this vital service for many years. The service is being supported by the government, emergency services, Ofcom, the telecommunications sector (British Telecom, Cable and Wireless, Vodaphone, Orange, 02, T-Mobile and 3) and RNID.
ESMS is a live, fully operational national service, which has already successfully been used to gain assistance in hundreds of real emergencies, including assistance to deliver two babies safely!
This 'service' represents a major step forward as until now this community have found themselves unable to contact emergency services while on the move. It is hoped that as many of them as possible will register now - rather than wait for an emergency!
Registration only takes a couple of minutes and involves texting the word 'register' to 999 and then following the instructions received.
For more information regarding the service and how to register follow this link to www.emergencysms.org.uk (Link opens in new window).