MODEL FOR HOME VISITS
You want to make the most of the time that you have with the residents to reach the goals of the home safety visit program. A good target time for a typical visit is about 30 minutes. Three- or four-member teams can accomplish the necessary steps in 15 minutes. Some fire departments offer comprehensive home safety visits that last one-and-a-half hours and cover fire and other home hazards. You need to balance the time spent in each home with the volume of requests and the number of people to conduct them.
- It is advised that a waiver be signed prior to each home safety visit. The waiver is to be signed by an adult acknowledging that he or she understands the limits of the home safety visit. The waiver is intended to protect the department and its personnel against potential legal actions. NFPA offers sample waiver language on page 15 of its free guide: Planning and Implementing a Successful Smoke Alarm Installation Program. Once you’ve prepared a waiver for your program, have it reviewed by your department’s legal staff to make sure it covers all necessary issues. If possible, work with a local adult literacy group to make sure your waiver is easily understood by all residents in your program. Find a program through the National Literacy Directory or by contacting ProLiteracy through its website.
Proper documentation of each fire safety visit will help you achieve goals, measure success, document activities, manage equipment inventories, and support evaluation.
The key information on the form is the status of smoke alarms when you arrived at the home, the status when you left, what fire safety and other safety information you gave to the household verbally or in literature, and the risk demographics of the household.