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Fire Safety And The Elderly

Posted by Deb Spinelli on 10/20/2015
After age 65, people are twice as likely to be killed or injured in a fire compared to the rest of the population. Therefore, knowing what to do in the event of a fire is particularly important for older adults. The issue of fire safety among the elderly has garnered much attention in recent years. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have developed a program around key safety tips for older adults in the event of a fire. The program is called “Remembering When: A Fire And Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults.” The program offers a variety of guidelines to increase fire safety for the elderly.

"Keep it low"

For older adults living in single family homes, as opposed to apartments, sleeping in a ground floor room is advised. This will make emergency escape in the event of a fire so much easier. A smoke alarm should be installed in every sleeping room as well as outside of sleeping areas. A telephone should also be installed in the sleeping room in the event of a nighttime emergency. An automatic sprinkler system is also advised, as this can help to put out the fire while emergency crews arrive.

"Sound the alarm"

A majority of fatal fires happen while people are sleeping. Interestingly, rather than waking you up smoke can actually serve to put you into an even deeper sleep. Therefore, it is very important to have a mechanical system in place to wake you up in the event of a fire. For those who are deaf or with diminished hearing, these systems are available with flashing lights and vibration instead of sound.

"Do the drill"

Practice makes perfect, and regular fire drills are right in line with this rule. Conducting regular at-home fire drills will ensure that everyone knows what to do in the event of an actual fire. If an elderly family member is unable to get out of the home unaided in the event of a fire, be sure to designate a “buddy” to accompany that person.

"Open up"

Make sure that all of your home's doors and windows can be easily opened. Locks should open easily from inside, and any security bars on doors or windows should be outfitted with emergency release devices so that they can be easily opened in a fire. Check to make sure that no windows have been painted shut or are otherwise unable to open.

"Stay connected"

Keep a telephone and emergency numbers on hand at all times to facilitate communication with emergency personnel in the event of a fire or other emergency.

Posted in: Elderly Care, Safety Products