Fire prevention important for disabled family members - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Fire prevention important for disabled family members

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

There have been two deadly fires in Hamilton County in the last week, making the topic of fire safety a priority.

Firefighters tell Channel 3, it's a great time of year to review fire safety with your children and any elderly or disabled family members.

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    Fire officials encourage all families to practice their fire escape plan multiple times a year. It's even more important for families with loved ones who have disabilities.

    Lance McLenore relies on a computer to communicate with friends and family. He has an idea of what to do in case of an emergency, but he and his mom don't have an exact escape plan. “She always told me to go out the window if I couldn't get out the front.”

    Chattanooga firefighters train to respond to calls from help from citizens like Lance. Fire marshal William Matlock said all families need a plan. “When we respond to those, it is important that those families have a plan in place. That they are prepared before the incident ever occurs,” said Matlock.

    Matlock said having a working fire detector is key. But sometimes, a traditional fire alarm isn't enough to alert someone to a fire inside their home.

    “For someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, responding to a fire alarm is going to be different. They obviously do not hear it,” said Steve Powell an assistive technology director with Signal Centers in Chattanooga.

    Devices like the Safe Alarm will flash warning lights, in addition to sounding alarms. It also comes with "bed shakers" to alert the individual when they are asleep.

    “It alerts them to environmental conditions or noises they would normally miss due to their disability,” said Ezra Reynolds a technology designer with Signal Centers.

    It's technology like this that firefighters say help them keep the community safe. Technology and planning make the busy fire season safer for people like Lance, who may need a little extra help.

    “It is very important because some of us are not able to get out of the way like most people can. It takes a little more planning,” said McLenore.

    A "Safe Awake" alarm costs about $200, which is a lot more than traditional alarms that cost about $20.

    If you are in need of one of these alarms you can contact the Chattanooga Fire Marshal's Office at 910 Wisdom Street by calling 423-643-5618.

    That office receives a grant each year to help cover the cost.

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