Oct 22
Fire

Important Fire Safety Tips for Seniors

Home fires can happen at anytime, but generally increase during cooler weather. In fact, one home fire is reported every 85 seconds, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

It’s because of fire-related facts like these that we observe National Fire Prevention Week every October. The awareness campaign is designed to avoid accidents and save lives. It’s also a helpful reminder for you to create or review your emergency preparedness plan and make sure everyone in the family knows what to do in the event of a fire.

Understanding how to prevent home fires is particularly important for seniors, especially for older adults who live alone.

The good news is that many fires can be easily prevented.

Important Fire Safety Tips for Seniors

The Seattle Fire Department offers the following fire preparedness tips to keep older adults safe.

In the Kitchen

  • Don’t leave food cooking on the stove unattended, even for a short time. If you’re using a crockpot, simmering, or roasting a dish, stay home to keep watch as it cooks.
  • If you’re concerned that you or your loved may forget to turn off burners, look into getting an automatic shut-off device installed on the stove. CookStop is one such device that receives good reviews.
  • Avoid wearing loose-fitting garments while cooking. Instead, opt for short sleeves and close-fitting blouses or tops. Wearing an apron may also help prevent clothing from catching on fire.

Around the House

  • Every level of the home should have a smoke alarm. If you need additional alarms, contact the Seattle Fire Department at 206-386-1337. They offer free smoke alarms for seniors.
  • Routinely test all smoke alarms to make sure they are in working condition and change batteries at least twice each year.
  • Make sure that all furniture, curtains and other flammable items are kept at least three feet away from any type of heat source.
  • Map out at least two escape routes from your home in the event of a fire. Practice them on a routine basis. If you or a senior loved one has physical limitations that might make leaving more challenging, consider speaking to the Seattle Fire Department to let them know about your special circumstances in advance.

In The Bedroom

  • Keep essential items by your bedside: a telephone, your eyeglasses and any assistive devices you might need such as a cane or walker. You want to be able to react quickly if you need to escape.
  • Close your bedroom door while sleeping so that you have a better chance of escaping if there’s a fire in another part of the home.
  • Turn down the heat before going to bed.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Turn off and unplug space heaters before going to bed at night.
  • Don’t burn candles if you’re feeling tired or drowsy. Consider buying battery-operated flameless candles for the home instead.

Following these simple home fire safety tips could potentially save your life or the life of a loved one. To learn more about Fire Prevention Month, visit nfpa.org.