Fire safety is important for men and women of all ages, but as we get older, the risk becomes even greater. In fact, studies reported by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reveal that those age 65 and over are twice as likely to be injured or killed by fires.
studies reported by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reveal that those age 65 and over are twice as likely to be injured or killed by fires.
There is a heightened sense of awareness during the recent holiday season due to all the decorative lights and candles, as well as fires that are built during winter months.
For seniors, the biggest key is creating a safe environment that is void of fire hazards. If that’s not entirely possible, then you certainly want/need to minimize the risk.
For starters, be sure there are no exposed electrical cords that could be in the path of foot traffic. Not only could someone trip over such a cord, resulting in injury – especially for seniors – but whatever the cord is connected could likely fall, break, and possibly cause a fire. Again, keep this in mind around the holiday season when you decorate. Oftentimes there will be new lights and other electrical décor around the home, and you may not be familiar with their placement.
When using extension cords, be sure the size matches that of the appliance cord to avoid overheating. Please remember that extension cords should not be used for permanent fixtures or applications, and should always be unplugged when not in use. Be sure to inspect your cords for fraying on a regular basis.
Also, never place an object that generates heat near flammable materials. For example, if you use a space heater in your home, make sure it’s not directly on the closet or near any blankets, throws, furniture or curtains. The same applies to candles, irons, coffee makers, stovetop burners, etc. Never leave these items – or other similar items – unattended either.
Many of these practices may seem obvious to you. However, there are others that may not even cross your mind…but they should. For example, when cooking, don’t wear clothes with long, loose-fitting sleeves. These can easily catch fire while you’re working at and around the stove.
Lastly, be sure your home is properly equipped with fire and smoke detectors and that they are all in proper working order. In the event of a fire, be sure you have all emergency contact information readily available. This obviously includes 911, but also any family members or friends that should be notified of your safety and well-being. And, of course, have a pre-planned escape route from your home, should you need to evacuate. This will save time and also provide a semblance of peace in a time of panic.
If you live in a senior community, be sure to discuss fire safety with the staff at your residence and ask if they can inspect your apartment. Also, ask what their process is for dealing with fires and how they might be able to assist you.
© Lourdes-Noreen McKeen | 315 South Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach, FL33401 | 561.655.8544