Home Safety Advice for the Disabled, Sight and Hearing Difficulties
The information below 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 difficulties tips
If you have a hearing difficulty you can get a smoke alarm which uses a strobe light and vibrating pads.
In the event of a fire, if it is difficult for you to call 999 yourself, ask a neighbour to do it for you.
If you have specialist equipment, such as a text phone or minicom, you can contact the emergency services on 18000.
Sight difficulties 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 one for you.
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.
Mobility difficulties tips
If it is difficult to test your alarm ask somebody to do it for you.
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.
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 http://www.textrelay.org
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.
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 http://www.emergencysms.org.uk