Older and Wiser
Fire Safety for Seniors
People over the age of 65 are the age group at greatest risk of dying in a fire. The ability to act quickly and safely is always vital in any emergency. Many seniors are limited by decreased mobility, hearing and sight or medication use. Seniors often live alone and have no one to help if a fire occurs. However, following some simple rules for fire safety can greatly reduce the risks of injury or death.
Don't fear fire...Be Prepared!
- Plan your response around your abilities.
- Ask your fire department to help with an escape plan and for tips on maintaining smoke alarms.
- Involve family members and neighbours in practicing your escape plan.
Fire Safety Tips for Seniors
Tips to Remember:
- Never smoke in bed or near upholstered or flammable material.
- Sleeping with the bedroom door closed will give more time to escape if a fire occurs.
- Keep space heaters well ventilated and at least three feet away from combustibles.
- Extension cords are for temporary use only and should never be used with space heaters or electric blankets.
- Never run electrical cords under a carpet or rug.
- Make sure there is a working smoke alarm on every floor in the home and outside the sleeping areas.
- Have a friend or relative test your smoke alarm while you are sleeping to make sure you can hear it.
- Once a month, test the battery by pushing the test button or drifting smoke from a snuffed out candle under the alarm.
- Once a year, replace the smoke alarm battery.
- Clean the smoke alarm unit by gently vacuuming with the soft brush attachment.
- Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old.
Fire Escape Planning
- Develop and practice a fire escape plan.
- Know how to escape from every level of your home.
- Make sure all doors and windows can be unlocked and opened.
In Case of Fire
- Get out and stay out. NEVER GO BACK INTO A BURNING BUILDING!
- Crawl near the floor to the nearest exit maintaining contact with the wall.
- DO NOT OPEN A DOOR IF IT IS HOT TO THE TOUCH! Use second way out to safety.
- If the door and knob are cool, open the door slowly. Be prepared to close it if smoke and heat rush in.
- Should you get trapped, put as many closed doors as possible between you and the fire; seal all cracks in doors and windows with towels or bedding.
- If clothing catches on fire, STOP where you are: DROP gently to the ground and cover your face with your hands and ROLL back and forth to put out the flames.
- Cool burns in cool running water (under the tap) for 10 to 15 minutes.