Emergency Preparedness and Fire Safety

Click the play button to see the captioned video
Be Prepared

The risk of injury or death because of a disaster is increasing.  It is no longer enough to react to a disaster once it has happened.  “Emergency preparedness” involves planning for disaster before it occurs.  Make sure you know what dangers affect the communities where you live, work, and play and that you make a plan for when an emergency or disaster happens. 


Emergency kit

Creating an emergency plan that is right for you
is a three-step process:

There are many resources available both locally in your community and online to help you develop a plan and gather supplies.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), was created by the Maryland legislature to ensure our state is prepared to deal with large-scale emergencies. MEMA is responsible for coordinating the state’s response in any major emergency or disaster. This includes supporting local governments as needed or requested, and coordinating assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal partners.  You can find more information about disaster preparedness and response by visiting MEMA’s website and the American Red Cross. Both have easy to follow guides. Both of these guides will lead you through different parts of planning, including, sheltering in place, evacuation, hunting for home hazards and making a supply kit.


Smoke alarms save lives, but those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind may not be able to depend on the sound of the standard alarm to alert them to a fire.

People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind should use alarms with strobe (flashing) lights or vibrating alarms that have been tested by an independent testing laboratory. The alarms for sleeping areas with strobe lights are required to be of a special high intensity that can wake a sleeping person. Most major smoke alarm companies offer alarms with strobe lights.

Smoke detectors

Living in rental housing? Maryland law requires a landlord to provide a visual smoke detector for a person with hearing loss. Public Safety Article 9-102 (b)(6). The law reads:

On written request of a tenant who is deaf or hearing impaired, the landlord shall provide a smoke detector that, when activated, provides a signal that:    
 (i) is approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory for electrical appliances; and 
 (ii) is sufficient to warn the deaf or hearing impaired tenant.


American Red Cross: Sign Language for Emergency Situations
Maryland Department of Disabilities - Be Prepared
National Fire Protection Association - People with Hearing Loss
National Weather Service Information for People with Hearing Loss
Ready America Guide to Planning for People with Disabilities and Other Special Needs
Register for Emergency Alerts
Directory of Services: Fire Safety
Directory of Services: Emergency Preparedness
Rochester Red Cross: Disaster Preparedness in the Deaf Community
The American Red Cross Tips for People with Hearing Loss
US Fire Administration

Fire and Burn Safety Coalition of Maryland (FABSCOM) – Visual Smoke Alarms
Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)


Red Cross Fact Sheet: Be Prepared
Local Emergency Management Directors by County
Department of Homeland Security’s 30 Tips for being Prepared


Emergency Management Ontario (ASL and Voice)
Topic: Preparing with your family for an emergency.

Northeast Texas Public Health District – 18 Emergency Preparedness Topics (ASL, Voice, CC)
Topics: General Emergency Preparedness, Basic First Aid, Chemical Emergencies, Food Safety During Disasters, Heat-Related Safety, Infectious Disease, Insect/Animal Hazards, Nuclear Events, Radiological Events, Shelter in Place,  Terrorism, Mass Casualty/Explosions, Flooding, Hurricane/High Winds, Tornadoes/Thunderstorms, Winter Storms.

Community Emergency Preparedness Information Network (CEPIN) - Deaf and Hard of Hearing Disaster Preparedness Video (ASL, Voice, CC)

Topic: Disaster Preparedness

Centers fro Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Emergency Preparedness and Response (ASL and Voice for Selected Videos. Scripts for all videos.