A valid reason to talk to people who have a disability

Member News image Roslyn and Luke from Rochester learn about home fire safety


People with a disability have a much higher risk of injury in a house fire. Did you know that more than 60 per cent of people who die in house fires have a disability?


A national residential fire fatality report published in 2019 was a wake-up call to both CFA and Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) about who is at higher risk in a house fire.

As a result, the fire services are working together to engage people with a disability and the organisations that support them. On 5 and 6 February 2024, CFA and FRV attended the VALiD conference and expo in Geelong, with a shared stand. 

VALiD is the Victorian peak advocacy organisation for adults with intellectual disability. Each year it hosts the 'Having a Say' conference and expo. This is the second year in a row that CFA and FRV have attended to engage people about home fire safety. 

It provides a way to share CFA and FRV’s 'Prevent Detect Escape' home fire safety training and resources with disability providers and individuals. 

“Disability providers are grateful to hear we have free online training about bushfire and home fire safety," CFA's Tim Marchinton said. "They always have questions about smoke alarms and what to do if a person cannot escape from a house by themselves. They really are lifesaving conversations at these types of events."

CFA and FRV collect the contact details of disability provider organisations to enable us to stay connected and share the latest fire safety resources.

The most reassuring part of the VALiD conference and expo is talking to people who have an intellectual disability. These individual conversations allow us to hear what matters to the individual and then tailor our advice to their circumstances.

“Roslyn and Luke from Rochester stopped by the stand to learn about how to prevent fires starting inside and were interested in the 'Prevent Detect Escape' online training course. We spoke about different types of smoke alarms and the importance of interconnected smoke alarms,” Tim said.

CFA also has specialised resources that may be suitable for people with an intellectual disability, such as Easy English. This is available on the CFA website. 

CFA and FRV plan to continue to engage people with a disability and improve fire safety for this high-risk group. If you have an idea about engaging people with a disability and want to get in touch, please email Angela and Kelly at communityprograms@cfa.vic.gov.au. 


  • Member News imageLisa from FRV speaks to a disability provider
  • Member News image Learning about home fire safety
Submitted by Angela Cook