seniors, fire safety

Whether the cause is an electrical malfunction or an act of nature, a home can catch fire in a matter of minutes. Our senior citizens have an increased risk of dying in a fire. Share these fire safety tips to help prevent older adult fire casualties in your community.

•In 2010, older adults (ages 65 and older) represented 13 percent of the U.S. population but suffered 35 percent of all fire deaths.

•Older adults are 2.7 times more likely to die in a fire than the general population. People ages 85 and older are 4.6 times more likely to die in a fire.

•Older adult males are 62 percent more likely to die in a fire than older adult females.

•Have smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement and directly outside of each sleeping area.

•Test smoke alarms every month. You can ask a family member or home care assistant to test the alarms for you.

•Never disable your smoke alarm by unhooking it or removing the battery. If your smoke alarm starts “chirping,” the battery is running low and should be replaced.

•If you smoke, never smoke near oxygen tanks.

•Have a professional clean and inspect your fireplace, woodstove or coal stove once a year.

•Unplug heaters when you aren’t using them, including when you leave your home or go to bed.

•Keep an eye on what you fry. Most cooking fires start when someone is frying food.

•Plan your escape around your abilities. If possible, identify two ways out of every room.

•Keep a phone and emergency numbers to call for help near your 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 the deadly smoke.

•If you live with others, plan a safe place to meet outside after escaping.

Source: U.S. Fire Administration (USFA)

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Summer 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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