Nobody likes to admit they’re getting too old to do certain things anymore, and elderly people who want to live at home and remain safe are at high risk of injury or death from home fires. Just as infants and small children may need extra assistance during fires and other emergencies that require evacuation, the elderly are also in need of help to reduce the chance of harm.
The U. S. Fire Administration, which is a government department that offers citizens advice on how to keep safe from accidental fire, reports around 3,400 people die in a fire every single year and that over 17,000 are injured in fires. Unfortunately, seniors are at increased risk of fire because of mobility issues and the effects age has on the mind. Although a senior citizen might have a spry and active mind, a fire could represent an insurmountable hurdle for safe evacuation.
Vital Methods for Preventing Fires
Preventing fires before they have a chance to start is essential for senior safety. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports adults above the age of 65 are twice as likely to be injured or killed by fire compared to the overall population. The NFPA offers the following fire safety tips for homes with elderly residents:
1. Sleep on the ground floor
Older adults who have mobility issues might take too long to get down the stairs if a fire starts. Sleeping on the ground floor makes evacuation easier. Older adults who live in multi-story homes might want to consider moving into a single story residence. If moving isn’t feasible, switching a downstairs activity room with an upstairs bedroom might be a solution to ensure safety during the night.
2. Install smoke detectors and security
Regular checks of current fire alarms and installation of new smoke detectors is important for seniors who are hard of hearing or have sight issues. New fire alarms have helpful features like bright lights and vibrating elements that are made for individuals with disabilities. Consult with a local alarm company in California for advice on the best spots to install smoke detectors and ensure that all areas of the home are protected.
3. Create an evacuation plan
Practicing an evacuation plan might seem like a project for elementary school children, but it’s also something families and elderly residents need to do. It’s important to create multiple escape routes, so if part of the home is inundated with fire it will be possible to use another route for escape. Practicing evacuation plans is also a great time to test the smoke detectors and ensure the batteries are working.
4. Remove barriers
In addition to creating an evacuation plan, it’s also necessary to remove impediments that might make it difficult for someone with reduced mobility to escape. Hallways should be clear of furniture and all of the windows and doors should be easy to open from the inside. Windows with bars on them should be equipped with an emergency release mechanism on every window.
5. Keep in touch
Elderly people often lead solitary lives and don’t get to socialize as much as they did when they were young. Anyone who has elderly parents or friends will want to keep in touch and call on a regular basis. Elderly people need to know that someone cares about their welfare. A simple phone call and a talk about fire safety may help save a life.