People over the age of 65 face the greatest risk of dying in a fire – more than 2 ½ times that of the general population. The U.S. Fire Administration wants older adults, their caregivers and all Americans to know that there are special precautions you can take to protect yourself and your home from fire.
Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms
The chance of surviving a home fire almost doubles with the initial warning from a smoke alarm.
Install smoke alarms on each level of your home and inside and outside sleeping areas.
Test them monthly and replace alkaline batteries at least once a year.
Caregivers are encouraged to check the smoke alarms of those who are unable to do it themselves. Premier Home Healthcare staff can assist with this important task as needed.
Plan Your Escape
Developing a fire escape plan around one’s capabilities is a key element to fire safety!
Have at least two exits from every room (especially the bedroom). Keep these exits clear.
If you use a walker or wheelchair, check all exits to be sure that you can go through the doorways.
Unless instructed by the fire department, never use an elevator during a fire.
If you live in a multi-story apartment or condo building; know at least two ways out (in case your normal exit is blocked by fire).
Speak to your family members, building manager or neighbors about your fire escape plan and practice it with them. Your Premier Home Health Care staff can assist you with conducting a fire drill for your home.
Be Safe Around Medical Oxygen
When using medical oxygen, the amount of oxygen in the air can increase. This means there is a higher risk of both fires and burns because it is easier for a fire to start and spread.
Never smoke in a home where medical oxygen is used.
Never use a candle, match, lighter or other open flame.
Never use a fireplace, stove or other equipment fueled by gas, kerosene, wood or coal.
Keep oil, grease and similar petroleum-based products away from oxygen valves. They can cause a spontaneous explosion.
Be Fire-Safe Around the Home
Careless smoking is a leading cause of home fire deaths among older adults.
If you must smoke, never smoke in bed.
Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. Use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
Don’t overload electrical outlets or extension cords.
Properly maintain chimneys and keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from space heaters.
Take special precautions if you are on medication that makes you drowsy.
If you must use a space heater to keep a room you are using warm, you must be mindful to safety since an unattended or faulty space heater can quickly cause a destructive fire. Ideally you should use a space heater with technology that will shut off automatically if knocked over or if the unit is overheating. If you have an older space heater that does not have these safety features, you should look into a replacement.