Fire Safety For Older Adults

Older adults are at risk for fire and burn injuries for a number of reasons.
  • They may be less able to take the quick action necessary in a fire emergency.
  • They may be on medication that effects their ability to make quick decisions.
  • Many older adults live alone and when accidents happen others may not be around to help.

Smoking (A major cause of fire deaths amoung older adults)
  • Don't leave smoking materials unattended. Keep plenty of large, deep ashtrays available in smoker's area. Be sure smoking materials are cold and wet before they are thrown out. Throw them into the toilet or a metal container every night before going to bed.
  • Check smoking areas, furniture in those areas, and clothing for ashes or smoking materials.
  • Never smoke while reclining on upholstered furniture or while in bed.
  • Buy only Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) approved heaters. Read manufacturer's instructions on proper usage.
  • Keep all combustibles at least three feet from the furnace and hot water heater.
  • Have furnaces inspected and cleaned at least once a year.
  • Place portable heaters at least three feet away from beds, drapes, furniture, and other flammables.
  • Do not dry or store objects on top of heaters.
  • Use only portable heaters that have an automatic shut-off that activates if the heater tips over. Turn off portable heaters before leaving home or going to bed. Use appropriate fuel for heaters. (The wrong fuel can cause an explosion)
  • Do not use electric space heaters in the bathroom or,around other wet areas.
  • Set a timer or alarm clock in case you fall asleep with a heating pad or electric blanket on.
  • Clean out storage areas. Discard old rags, newspapers and magazines.
  • Know when and how to use a fire extinguisher. Keep a multi-purpose ABC fire extinguisher handy.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and change the batteries twice a year.
  • Hardwired smoke alarms are available with external strobe lights, which could alert neighbors/passers-by to a fire.
  • Do not smoke while oxygen is on or if someone in the room is using oxygen.
  • Be sure that the temperature of your hot water heater is not higher than 120 degrees. Temperatures higher than 120 degrees can cause a third degree burn in just seconds