Fire safety for seniors is much the same as fire safety for any adult with the exception that seniors may have certain restrictions such as loss of hearing, limited mobility/agility or the inability to perform certain tasks such as properly maintaining their smoke alarm system. If you’re a senior, and particularly if you live alone, you may consider investing in an emergency notification system with a panic button that will allow you to contact an offsite monitoring agency in the event you require some type of emergency assistance.
Important information designed to help your understanding of fire safety requirements can ensure you remain as safe as possible. Stay safe and be sure to share this material with your friends and family!
Smoke Detectors Save Lives
Statistics show that most residential fire-related fatalities occur in homes where smoke alarms or smoke detectors are either not present or not working properly. A working smoke detector is your first line of defense in protecting yourself from fire, especially night-time fires. They aren’t expensive and are easy to install. Call your local fire department if you need assistance. Here are some important tips regarding fire safety and smoke alarms:
- You should have a working smoke alarm in every sleeping area and in the hallway outside these areas. You should have a minimum of one alarm per floor in your house.
- Have a friend or family member test your smoke detectors while you’re asleep. If you can’t hear your alarms while asleep you’ll need to adapt them to make a louder alarm signal.
- Sleep with your bedroom doors closed, which will provide extra time to escape from a fire on the other side of the door.
- Pressing the test button and also letting smoke from a blown-out candle drift into the smoke chamber should test alarms monthly.
- Change detector batteries annually. Hard-wired detectors should have a battery back-up.
- Change your carbon monoxide detector battery while you’re at it.
- Clean your detectors regularly by opening them and vacuuming gently with the brush attachment on your machine.
- Replace alarms ten years of age or older.
Avoid Leading Fire Causes
Two main causes for fire-related injuries and deaths among seniors are the improper use of smoking materials and misuse of space heaters. Here are some tips to help you stay safe:
- Establish a safe smoking area away from upholstered furniture or drapes. A good location is at the kitchen table.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Only use space heaters in areas that are well ventilated. Keep them at least 3-feet away from combustibles. Unplug when not in use.
- Never use extension cords with space heaters or electric blankets.
- Only use extension cords temporarily for low energy consuming items and never run them under rugs or carpets.
Fire Escape Planning
- Design and practice a fire escape plan for every level of your home. Each room should have two escape routes and all movable windows and doors should be capable of being opened.
- If you experience a fire, get out and stay out. Call 911 from a safe place.
- If caught in a smoky room, STAY LOW AND GO! Maintain contact with a wall. Feel the doorknob. If it’s cool, slowly open the door to check for a safe escape but be prepared to close it immediately and use your alternate escape route if heat or smoke is present.
- If your clothing catches fire, STOP, DROP and ROLL to smother the flames.