Americans over the age of 65 have a fire death rate nearly twice the national average. For those over 75, this jumps to three times the national average. Whether living independently or in a care facility, there are steps seniors can take to remain safe from fire.
Fire Safety for Older Adults
- Don't leave food unattended on the stove. If you must leave the kitchen, take a wooden spoon or potholder as a reminder.
- Wear short or close fitting sleeves and an apron to avoid catching clothes on fire.
- When cooking, keep a pot lid close by. In case of a pan fire, use the lid to smother the fire.
- Clean the stove and toaster regularly to avoid grease and crumb buildup.
- Use potholders, not towels, to handle hot pans and dishes.
- Don’t use the oven to heat your home.
- Keep everything at least one foot from any heat source.
- Unplug electrical appliances and heaters when not using them.
- Never hang clothes near a heater to dry them.
- Don't leave portable heaters alone or go to sleep while they are on.
- Make sure curtains hang well away from heat sources.
- Never smoke in bed or while lying on the couch.
- Smoke only when alert— never when tired or drowsy.
- Use a large, sturdy ashtray or purchase a special "safety ashtray".
- After using an ashtray, leave it on the kitchen counter or in the sink overnight before emptying.
- Always empty ashtrays into a non-burnable container, such as a metal garbage can.
At Bed Time
- Keep your robe, slippers, eyeglasses and house keys close by the bed.
- Check to be sure that any space heaters are turned off and heat is turned down.
- Close your bedroom door while sleeping.
- Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home.
- Check smoke alarms monthly. If you need help with your smoke alarm or need help testing your smoke alarm, call the Halifax Fire Department at 1-781-293-1751.
- Plan your escape routes (two from every room, if possible) in case a fire does strike. Locate two exit stairways from your apartment building. Never use elevators in a fire.
- Place a 9•1•1 sticker on your phone so that you will always have the number at your fingertips during an emergency.
- Call 9•1•1 from a safe location for any fire, medical or police emergency.
Contact: Halifax Fire Department 1-781-293-1751