We all need to take precautions regarding several dangers and hazards. While most of us can do so without much hassle, the disabled among us can experience certain challenges in doing so.
Here are some safety tips that you could make use of or keep in mind when taking care of somebody who is disabled.
People with a disability may not be able to react as quickly as able-bodied people in case of a fire break-out. While it is good that disabled people want to live life on their own terms and be capable of handling all situations, they need to be made aware of precautionary measures.
Make use of special fire warning devices for the disabled. People who are hard of hearing or deaf can use smoke alarms with flashing lights or vibrating pads. Some smoke alarms also have strobe lights that can attract the attention of passers-by or neighbors when activated. One can also set up an emergency call system to summon help.
At least one smoke alarm should be installed on each level of the house. Alarms need to be checked monthly and batteries need to be changed yearly.
Living on the ground floor will be the safest choice. This will allow the person to reach the exit quicker. People who use scooters or wheelchairs should make sure that they are able to pass through exits without any hindrance. If exits are not accessible, one can consider widening doorways. Installing exit ramps is also a good idea.
If you have a relative or a friend who has a disability, you must have them practice a fire safety drill or escape plan. As a person with a disability, if you need help, you can get in touch with your local fire department and ask for safety tips and instructions. Some fire safety personnel may even pay you a visit to inspect your home and suggest escape plans.
Make sure there is a phone right next to your bed so that you can call 911 immediately in case of a fire. You might also need to change certain habits such as drinking and smoking simultaneously. If you happen to fall asleep during such times, your cigarette could slip out of your hand onto the rug and start a fire. Stub out your cigarette in the ash-tray at the first sign of drowsiness.
Precautions to Take at Workplace
Both employees as well as the employers need to take steps to ensure safety at the workplace. As a disabled individual, you must make it a point to attend any health and safety programs organized by your company. Whatever guidelines or warnings are set out by the company should be followed. Take part in safety or evacuation drills held by the company. You must speak up if something is being a hindrance to you. Having a comfortable working environment is important so that you can make the best use of your skills.
As an employer, you will need to assess to what extent an employee’s disability affects his/her work. Take into consideration existing adjustments at the workplace and see if they are appropriate for your employees. You may need to make new adjustments.
Adjustments needn’t be in the form of just installing low desks, ramps or escalators. Some individuals may only be able to work in a day shift due to their disability so you will need to adjust their shift timings accordingly.
It will also be the employer’s responsibility to ensure that disabled individuals aren’t being criticized, judged or left out by others in the organization.
Precaution against Crimes
It will always help if you stay realistic regarding your physical limitations. Avoid going to places that are deserted. Never take short cuts through alleys, vacant parking lots or wooded areas.
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Wherever you go, always appear to be confident and in control of the situation. You don’t want to come across as an easy target. For the same reason, avoid following the same schedule every day.
You should make a note of all the important places in your neighborhood. These include restaurants or food joints that are easily accessible, hospitals or clinics, stores, public telephones, and police stations. Establish a cordial relationship with your neighbors. If they are watchful, they are likely to make sure you’re safe too.
You need to have good quality locks installed in your house. Peepholes are an absolute must. If you are wheelchair-bound, peepholes should be at your relative eye level.
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Always stay alert when using public transport, travelling to a new place or commuting to/from office. Carry your wallet or handbag close to your body instead of having it dangling by a strap. You should always carry your identity card and medical information with you. This will be of great help in times of emergencies.
You will also need to be wary of con artists. Always use your common sense and never let desperation or greed overcome it. Avoid investing money or buying things where you need to make quick on-the-spot decisions or pay only cash.
Prevention is always better than cure. While we may never be able to reduce crimes or mishaps to nil, we can strive to avoid such instances or be prepared for them in a better way. This takes a little bit of extra effort when it comes to people with disabilities. Identifying problems beforehand and working to get things right way before they go wrong will ensure safety for disabled individuals.
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Some Content by Julie Howard - See Julie Howard's blog @ Safety.com