FIRE-SAFE SENIORS PROGRAM
Across the USA.
“Smoking is the #1 cause of home fires that kill older adults.”
“Home fires are often caused by smoking, cooking, and heating in the home.”
- Fire Safe Seniors usfa.fema.gov
Organizations such as fire departments, senior living, senior centers, meal delivery programs, faith based groups, service organizations, and others serving older adults can help the elderly with fire preparedness by using the Fire-Safe Seniors toolkit, handouts and posters.
Fire safety for seniors includes:
Home assessments - assess needs for smoke alarms and any existing fire hazards in older adult's homes.
Smoke alarm installation - to ensure an elderly person’s home is equipped with working smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside of each sleeping area. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly. Smoke alarms that use flashing light or vibrations to indicate a fire are available along with pillow or bed shakers that turn on when a smoke alarm sounds.
Fire Safety Education – to provide fire safety tips to older adults, their family members and caregivers.
Follow-up – to make sure smoke alarms are still working, to assess older adult’s fire safety knowledge, attitudes and behaviors, and to check-in to determine if fires have occurred.
How Elderly Can Prevent Fires in Their Home:
Smoking Safety -smoke outside, if possible and never smoke near oxygen tanks. Never smoke lying down, drowsy, or in bed and use large, deep, tip-resistant ashtrays on a flat surface. Wet cigarette butts and ashes before emptying into the trash.
Stove Fire Safety - keep an eye on fried foods in particular. Wear short or rolled up sleeved so they don’t catch on fire and move things that can burn away from the stove. Don’t cook when drowsy from medication or alcohol. Use oven mitts and if a pan of food catches fire, slide a lid over it and turn off the burner.
Space Heater Safety - keep space heater 3 feet away from everything including yourself. Unplug heaters when not in use or before going to bed. Use tip over safe heaters.
Fire Place or Wood or Coal Stove Safety - have a professional clean and inspect your fireplace, wood or coal stove once a year. Do not burn green wood, artificial logs, boxes, or trash. Use a metal mesh fireplace screen to keep sparks inside. If fireplace has glass doors, leave them open while burning a fire.
Electrical Safety – have a licensed electrician check your home’s electrical system, outlets, breakers and fuses.
Escape Plan for Elderly in Event of Fire
- Plan escape around your abilities - poor eyesight, loss of hearing, arthritis, dementia and side effects from medicine can make it more difficult to react to a fire.
- Identify two ways out of every room.
- Clear clutter that may block your escape route or cause you to trip or fall.
- Keep a phone and emergency numbers to call for help next to bed or sleeping area.
- If a fire starts, get out and stay out.
- If you cannot get out, get as low to the ground as you can so that you don’t breathe in smoke. Smoke can be deadly.
- If you live with others, plan a safe place to meet outside after escaping.
Elderly Emergency Response
WATCH VIDEO ON FIRE-SAFE SENIORS PROGRAM