Fire Risks for the Mobility
People with mobility impairments are faced with many challenges in life.
Personal safety, especially fire safety, is one challenge that many perceive
as an obstacle. It does not have to be this way. By being aware of one’s
own special capabilities and following fire safety practices tailored to
certain needs, the mobility-impaired person can lead a fire-safe life.
Mainstream fire safety education and fire protection devices are designed
primarily with the able-bodied person in mind. Thus a scarcity of fire
safety knowledge exists within both the mobility-impaired community and
the fire service. Both groups must work to educate each other to decrease
fire-related losses and injuries.
The principal findings of this study are summarized below:
People with mobility impairments represent a segment of the population
with one of the highest risks of dying in a fire.
The fire safety needs of people with mobility impairments are not addressed
through mainstream public fire and life safety education.
Fire safety engineering has not adequately addressed the capabilities of
people with mobility impairments.
Typical home construction may present people with disabilities with unnecessary
impediments to escape.
The mobility-impaired community is growing.
Mobility impairments hinder attempts by the disabled not only to escape
fires, but also to confine or extinguish small fires.