Fire Safety for Children with Special Needs

Nine million or 13% of U.S. children under the age of 18, have a special health care need. Children with developmental disabilities, both physical and psychological, have higher rates of unintentional injury.

Additionally, there are 28 million deaf and hard of hearing Americans who are unable to rely on the warning sound of a smoke alarm to alert them of a fire.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue encourages all children to be taught fire safety and most importantly, all family members and caregivers should plan for a fire and practice fire safety skills regularly.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) encourages the hearing impaired and special needs population and their caregivers to practice the following precautionary steps:

  • For children in wheelchairs, an accessible exit is critical. The fire department should be notified of the presence of a child who has a disability in the home.
  • Contact the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) for information about obtaining a flashing or vibrating smoke alarm if you live in Montgomery County, Maryland. Click here to contact MCFRS.
  • Install a flashing or vibrating smoke alarm on every level of your home. Test all smoke alarms monthly and change batteries at least once a year.
  • Make sure a TTY/TDD phone (if used) is next to your bed, within arm's reach. Keep emergency telephone numbers and hearing aids (if necessary) close by.
  • Be sure to inform family members, the building manager, or a neighbor of your fire safety plan and practice it with them. Contact your local fire department on a non-emergency telephone (use appropriate TTY devices if necessary) and explain your special needs.
  • Request emergency providers to keep your special needs information on file.