As we age our risk of dying in a fire increases. This is due to risk factors such as physical and/or emotional disabilities which make it more difficult for us to be aware of a fire and also how quickly to respond to one. We are also more at risk of causing the fire ourselves. Fire safety for seniors and everyone needs to be shared!
There are more fires in the winter months due to more people being indoors and the increase in using candles, fireplaces, space heaters and wood burning stoves. Overused electrical circuits are also a contributor.
How do you make an escape plan?
Everyone should have an escape plan in place for each room of the house. Move items that block doorways or windows and keep a phone near your bed. Practise your escape plan in all seasons and decide upon a place to go or meet up with family once you are out of the house. If your house is on fire, never go back inside and call the fire department once you are outside and safe.
Fire Safety and Prevention Methods
- Install and maintain smoke alarms/detectors. These are one of the most important items that your home should have so you have time to get out if a fire should occur. Each level of your home should have one and they should also be placed inside and outside of each sleeping area. Test your smoke detectors monthly and ensure that the batteries are still strong.
- Try not to use space heaters but if you must make sure they are a safe distance away from anything flammable such as curtains, beds and furniture. At least 3 feet in all directions is the usual distance for safety.
- Don’t overload your outlets. It’s fine to use extension cords when you must but don’t run them under carpets, keep them in good working order and if anything feels hot, such as a cord or an outlet, stop using it immediately.
- Small pan fires on the stove can be put out with baking soda and then covered with a lid. Don’t move the pan from the stove. If any part of your clothing catches fire, it can be smothered with a blanket or wet towel. If it should spread, drop to the ground and roll.
At all times of the year, you should keep senior fire safety in mind but in the winter it is more important that you know all fire safety rules. Don’t use elevators, remember to turn off stoves and other electrical appliances – check before going to bed at night or leaving the house. Your safety is always the most important thing to keep in mind.