The risk of dying in a fire or suffering an injury is greatest for aging Americans.
There are many reasons that seniors are more at risk of a home fire injury than others. These reasons include:
· Hearing or visual impairments which delay detecting the presence of a fire.
· Loss of physical mobility and dexterity.
· Medications which slows decision-making and reaction times.
· Older homes. Many seniors live in older homes with aging wiring and overloaded outlets.
· Memory loss which causes seniors to leave the stove on or forget to turn off electrical appliances.
· Many use space heaters and alternate forms of heat.
· Unmonitored smoke detectors.
Tips to Keep Seniors Safe
Not only are these fire safety tips ideal for the elderly and their caregivers, they’re good tips for all.
Get monitored home fire alarm smoke detectors and home carbon monoxide detectors | A monitored smoke or carbon monoxide detector is different from the “change the batteries at Daylight Savings Time” smoke detectors you get at a big box or your local hardware store. Monitored smoke detectors can summon professional help when needed. The typical smoke or carbon monoxide detectors from a larger retailer only make a noise at the detector, in hopes that the home’s occupants will hear the noise and leave the home. The big problem with this is that the detector can’t summon help, which means it simply burns up with the rest of the home. And many seniors are hard of hearing, especially at night when they’ve removed their hearing aids and go to sleep. Contact a reliable home fire protection company like My Alarm Center for monitored home smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You can even tie home security and other home automation functions in with the fire alarm for a complete senior home protection package.
Check electrical cords | Make sure none of them are frayed and that all are in good condition. None should be running under carpets or plugged into overloaded outlets. And check the outlets to make sure none of them are overloaded.
Have an emergency fire evacuation plan | Fire preparedness planning saves lives. It’s important that aging adults know what to do in the event of a fire emergency. Review escape routes and factor in a person’s mobility to plan a route that’s practical and effective.
Window and door signs for oxygen and compressors | If oxygen and compressors are used in the home, make sure people are informed by posting signs on the doors and windows. These can be dangerous in the event of a fire and signs allow the fire department to understand potential hazards inside the home.
Check the appliances, especially portable space heaters | All should be UL approved with the latest safety features. Look for a tag on each appliance…most are at the end of the cord.
Clean out the dryer | Dryer lint traps are big fire hazards and many seniors forget to clean out the trap. Periodically have a caregiver and/or family member check the trap to make sure it is free of lint.
Strategically locate fire extinguishers | Place fire extinguishers in high risk areas like kitchens, laundry rooms, workshops and basements. Make sure the extinguisher is the right weight and is easy to use for the senior citizens in the home.
Keep things clutter-free | All hallways and doorways should be free of clutter and debris. This enables people to get out of the home quickly and easily without increasing their risks of injury.