For Immediate Release
Febuary 15, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Fires Pose Challenges for People with Disabilities

Recent fires have tragically resulted in injuries or deaths involving people with disabilities in various parts of Kansas. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) encourages those with disabilities to take the necessary precautions to protect their safety in the event of a fire.

“You need a smoke alarm on each level of the home and in every sleeping area, and to make sure each one actually works,” says Lori Haskett, Injury Prevention Director with the Kansas Fire Injury Prevention Program at KDHE.

Haskett said that people with disabilities may be at greater risk for fire injury because of difficulty hearing an alarm, lack of mobility to reach safety quickly, inability to crawl low under the smoke, or various other mobility, sensory or cognitive disabilities.

Advance preparation could be the key to saving someone’s life in a fire emergency. KDHE offers the following fire safety tips for persons with disabilities:

Smoke Alarms

Home Safety

Plan Your Escape

If You Are Unable to Escape

Don’t Isolate Yourself

Smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month and the batteries replaced every six months, except for lithium batteries that last for 10 years. A working smoke alarm reduces the risk of dying in a fire by about 50 percent.

KDHE receives funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct the Kansas Fire Injury Prevention Program. To learn more, visit