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Fire Safety For Seniors

Fire Safety for Seniors

Life changes for us as we age. Some of the changes such as having time for things we always wanted to do instead of working are welcomed. Other changes are not welcomed - issues with hearing, sight or mobility. Some of these changes make it more difficult for seniors to maintain their safety or react quickly in an emergency situation.

The statistics are scary for older adults and fires. For those age 65 and older, they are twice as likely to die in a fire. For people over 85, the statistic is four times more likely to die in a fire than the general population. 30% of fires are from smoking, 22% heating equipment, 16% cooking equipment, 16% electrical, 5% candles and the remaining miscellaneous. The most fire injuries are from cooking. So what can we do to keep ourselves or our loved ones safe?

  1. Install working smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside of sleeping areas. The fire department will even conduct a home safety assessment and install smoke detectors with new 10 year lithium batteries if seniors are unable to do it themselves. Smoke alarms will warn you when smoke is in the home and gives you time to escape the house. If you or your loved one are hearing impaired, there are strobing lights smoke detectors for purchase and installation.

  2. Keep a phone near the bed at all times in the event 911 is needed. Eye glasses, hearing aides and keys may also be helpful if near a bed for easy access.

  3. Don't smoke in bed, couches or around oxygen. Douse cigarette butts with water and make sure you extinguish any cigarettes in approved deep ashtrays.

  4. Use the correct wattage light blubs with lamp and lighting fixtures to prevent fires.

  5. Allow electronics clearance behind and surrounding to eliminate overheating.

  6. Minimize extension cords and never place under rugs or secure with nails.

  7. Examine all cords and get rid of any and all frayed cords.

  8. Don't overload outlets – 2 appliances per outlet is the maximum. Make sure all outlets are in good condition.

  9. Purchase UL Marked Safety Tested Appliances

  10. Keep space heaters three feet away from bedding, furniture or anything flammable. Purchase space heaters with auto shut off features and keep on the floor.

  11. Don't tuck electric blankets into the bed. Do not place blankets on top of the electric blanket. Avoid using if wet or soiled. Turn the blanket off at night and when out of sight. If it is more than 10 years old, replace the electric blanket.

  12. Keep the home free of clutter.

  13. Wear short sleeves and oven mitts when cooking

There are a few questions to ask yourself to see if you or your loved one can get out of the home safely in the event of a fire.

  • Can you get out of your home in three minutes since this time may mean the difference between life and death.?

  • Are there two ways out of each room in the house?

  • Can you open your window? Use the stairs? Get out of bed? Escape out of the door?

  • Consider adding a carbon monoxide detector to also alert loved ones to dangerous gases from furnaces or other heating sources.

Map out an escape route today. Keep you and your loved ones safe.

Posted Monday, 07/28/14, 09:22 AM - Comments - Category: Safety

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