Fire Prevention Week 2021: Sounds of Fire Safety


by Carrie Gerbitz and Charlotte Worden

The National Fire Protection Association celebrates Fire Prevention Week in October of every year.  For 2021, everyone in fire protection is focusing on the “Sounds of Fire Safety.”  From buzzing smoke detectors to ringing fire alarm systems, audible alerts are extremely important and well-regulated for very good reasons, especially regarding disabled individuals.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be blind during an emergency?  We’re not talking “blinded by smoke” here.  For the visually impaired and blind, there’s no wondering.  Evading fire hazards requires all of their other senses including hearing.

Marmic Fire & Safety Co.® interviewed 2 members of the Joplin (Missouri) Association for the Blind, a non-profit organization offering services to low-vision and blind members of Southwest Missouri communities.  Jim Murray and Jim Smith of JAB offer their experiences in both fire and non-fire situations in this video.

While you may not have a visual impairment like Jim Murray or Jim Smith, we all face similar impediments in a fire. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for and what to do in a fire emergency.

  • Do the research and select the fire protection equipment that best meets your needs, but don’t stop there! Make sure that you regularly maintain the equipment and replace it when necessary. 
  • Repair exposed or damaged electrical wiring.
  • Have a safety escape plan in place and make sure to practice frequently. You should know at least two (2) ways out.
  • Keep all hallways and doorways free of clutter. If there is a fire, this clutter can be a tripping hazard and slow someone down while attempting to escape!
  • In the case of a fire, evacuate immediately. If there is smoke, stay low and crawl to the nearest exit.  Smoke inhalation is the leading cause of death due to fires!

For deaf individuals, audible devices are ineffective.  However, bed shaker technology is available and should be checked for functionality regularly just like any piece of fire safety equipment.  You can learn more about safety tips for the deaf here.