According to the National Fire Prevention Association, at age 65, older adults are twice as likely to be killed or injured by fires compared to the population at large. By age 75, that risk increases to three times that of the general population — and to four times by age 85.
- Older adults often live in older homes that may be more susceptible to fire.
- Limited mobility may make it harder to get to a fire extinguisher or make a timely exit.
- Diminished senses may delay the time it takes for an older adult to smell smoke.
- Dementia and other cognitive issues may affect their ability to respond to risk.
In order to lessen these risks, there are several tips that you can use to improve the fire safety of your home.
Cook with Caution
Hundreds of fires start inside the home because of cooking accidents every year. Paying extra attention to not leave anything cooking on the stovetop unattended is key as is keeping flammable items like oven mitts and towels away from any open flames. It is also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher within easy reach in the kitchen.
Stay on One Level
If you don’t live in an apartment building, consider sleeping in a room on the ground floor in order to make an emergency escape easier. When looking for an apartment or high-rise home, look for one with an automatic sprinkler system. Sprinklers can extinguish a home fire in less time than it takes for the fire department to arrive.
Check the Chimney
There’s nothing wrong with a roaring fire when it’s cold outside, just make sure that embers don’t spread. Cover the opening of the chimney will a metal screen or spark arrestor, this will help to block any of the floating embers from entering into the home from above, it can also help to prevent the embers from catching on fire outside. You should also have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year
Blow Out the Candles
Even if you are trying to set a certain mood, it is still a good idea to stay in the room wherever you have the candles lit. It is also a good idea to make sure that the candles are kept in candle holders, and they need to be completely blown out before you leave the room even if the flame is small.
Clean Your Gutters
Even though you might not want to pull out the rake after autumn it’s still a good idea to clean up any excess plants that have dried up on your lawns, decks, and balconies especially on the rain gutters. This helps to reduce the chances of risk of fire from chimney embers. If you’re unable to clean your gutters, ask a friend, family member or neighbor to help.
Sound the Alarm
The majority of fatal fires occur when people are sleeping, and because smoke can put you into a deeper sleep rather than waking you, it´s important to have a mechanical early warning of a fire to ensure that you wake up. If anyone in your household is deaf or hard of hearing, consider installing a smoke alarm that uses a flashing light or vibration to alert you to a fire emergency.
Get a Medical Alert System
Medical Alert’s at-home and on-the-go systems are not limited to medical emergencies. If there is a fire and you are unable to reach your phone to dial 9-1-1, you can contact and emergency response operator by pressing your Medical Alert button. The operator can then contact 9-1-1 dispatchers on your behalf.
Stay in Contact
In the case of fire, a timely response can make all the difference. Using a Medical Alert system allows you to connect with emergency services quickly, especially if you can’t reach your phone. If you fall having fall detection can connect you with emergency services, even if you can’t press your button.