Fire safety is something most older adults have learned about their entire lives. While your aging loved one already knows the basics, it might be time to brush up on a few tips that work best for seniors. Ideally, your fire prevention and evacuation plan should be reviewed on a regular basis, and you’ll want to make sure your parent is implementing these senior-friendly strategies.
1. Try to Sleep on the Ground Floor
As your loved one gets older, using stairs can become more difficult. If the option is available, try to set up your parent’s bedroom on the ground floor to prevent falls. Being able to walk through a single level to exit the home could save valuable minutes in a life-or-death situation.
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2. Use Multi-Sensory Fire Alarms
Fire alarms are the best defence for detecting a fire in enough time to evacuate the home. If your loved one has serious hearing or vision loss, you’ll need to find a special type of alarm designed to warn people who can’t see or hear well. Special fire alarms are designed to generate flashing lights when they’re activated or vibrate under pillows to wake people up.
3. Arrange for Someone to Check Fire Alarms Regularly
Climbing up on a ladder might not be safe anymore, which could cause your loved one to overlook doing regular fire alarm checks. Check the alarms on a monthly basis. If any fail the test, replace them immediately. You’ll also want to keep batteries on hand to change them as needed. All fire alarm batteries should be replaced at least yearly, even if they’re still working. Many people choose familiar dates, such as their birthdays, that help them remember to do annual battery changes.
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4. Be Extra Cautious when Cooking
Many fires in seniors’ homes are started when they’re trying to cook simple meals. Your loved one should never leave the kitchen if he or she has something cooking on the stove. Seniors should also dress for fire safety. Make sure any robe or shirt sleeves don’t hang down far enough to make contact with a heat source, such as a gas burner. If possible, your parent should try to avoid cooking when tired. Prepping a few freezer meals ahead of time or asking someone else to help makes it easier to avoid an accidental house fire.
5. Use Candles & Heaters Safely
Candles are often used for decorative purposes or as a light source during a power outage. Never allow candles to burn unattended. They should also be kept at least a foot away from flammable materials. Space heaters need to be kept three feet away from anything that could be burned or damaged by the high temperatures. Buying one with an automatic shutoff in case it gets knocked over is another way to increase safety.
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