According to the U.S. Fire Administration, senior citizens aged 65 and older are twice as likely to die in a fire as the general population. Moreover, people aged 85 or older have an even higher risk of dying in a home fire. Considering these facts, it is crucial for older citizens to understand the risks and be prepared for a fire. Below are several fire safety guidelines for older adults:
- Do not cook if you are feeling sleepy, drowsy from medication or have been consuming alcohol.
- If you are cooking food on a fire or electrical stove, always supervise the stove. Use a cooking timer to remind you when to turn off the stove.
- Keep your cane or wheel chair, hearing aid and glasses in your bedroom when you sleep. This will allow you to quickly grab them in case of an emergency.
- Always carry a phone or keep one nearby with emergency phone numbers. In case you are trapped in your home by a fire, you will be able to quickly call emergency personnel.
- Never smoke around oxygen. It is highly dangerous to burn anything around oxygen, since fire needs oxygen to burn. If oxygen is in use, there is no safe way to smoke in the house.
- Consider sleeping in a room on the ground floor (if you don’t live in an apartment building) to be able to escape your home quickly in case of an emergency.
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside any sleeping areas and on every level of the home. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries every fall.
- If anyone in the home is deaf or hard of hearing, consider using specialized smoke alarms that use vibration or flashing light. More information about smoke alarms for people with hearing impairments can be found here.
- Practice fire drills with everyone in the home to make sure you know how to escape the building in case of a fire. If you cannot escape alone, designate someone to assist you and have a backup designee, as well.
- Make sure that your home’s windows haven’t been sealed shut with nails or paint, so that you can easily escape through the windows (if necessary) in case of an emergency.
Families and caregivers are encouraged to consider these tips and help older adults take steps in preventing and preparing for a home fire. For professional fire, water and mold restoration services, contact your local PuroClean office.