We choose to face the future in one of two ways: prepared or unprepared. If you care for someone with a disease, daily needs and routines often require so much attention that preparation for the future sits on the back burner (bad pun alert).

In terms of planning, I think every caregiver should consider fire safety.

You ask, “What does fire safety have to do with being a caregiver?” Fire safety is especially important in a household where a family member moves slowly, may be easily confused in an emergency, requires a wheel chair, or is bed bound.

It’s important to prepare for the unexpected if you are a care giver. Unlike most people who might quickly run from a burning house, a person with MS may require extra assistance in a house fire or a nursing facility fire.

The National Fire Protection Association (http://www.nfpa.org) is “the authority on fire, electrical, and building safety.” In other words, if you want to learn about fire safety, NFPA.org is the place to start. In addition to more information than you thought there was to know about fires, the NFPA web site offers very helpful, free information about fire safety for caregivers and people with disabilities.

If you use the site’s menu and choose ‘Learning > Public Education > Safety Tips and Fact Sheets’, you will discover free information in categories such as appliances, campus and dorm fires, candles, carbon monoxide, children and fire, cooking, electrical safety, emergency preparedness, escape planning, fire extinguishers, fuels, high-rise buildings, nursing homes, people with disabilities, smoke alarms … you get the idea. It’s an impressive collection of free information for everyone.

If you are a caregiver, however, I suggest you start with these two sections:

People with Disabilities

and

Escape Planning

Caregiver Tip: Be prepared. Life is easier when you are prepared for the unexpected. If you are an MS Caregiver, make sure you have an emergency plan in case a fire (or other emergency) requires evacuation.

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