According to the Administration for Community Living, over twelve millions seniors live alone. While your loved ones may be independent enough to stay in their own homes, they may need your help to be safe in the event of a fire. If you aren’t able to check on your elderly family members personally, find a trusted friend or neighbor who would be willing to help.
- Unlike statistics pertaining to the general population, amongst seniors, smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths. Talk to your loved ones about smoking in the home and discuss making the change to an e-cigarette, if possible.
- Never allow your loved one or visitors to smoke near an oxygen tank, even if it isn’t in use.
- Cigarettes should be doused with water before they are discarded to reduce any risk of fire.
- Lit cigarettes should never be left on furniture.
- Always make sure that any cigarette butts are fully extinguished before going to sleep, and never smoke when drowsy.
- For seniors who must rely on the use of a space heater, use all necessary precautions to prevent fire. They should be at least three feet away from easily combustible material, especially bedding and curtains.
- Encourage your loved ones to turn off their space heaters before they go to sleep or leave the home.
- Make sure elderly family members can exit their home from any location in under two minutes. For seniors with mobility problems, this may mean creating access to multiple exits.
Here are additional resources for seniors:
- Fire Safety for Seniors Booklet (PDF) (NYC.gov)
- Home Fire Safety for Older Adults Safety Awareness Program Toolkit (Electrical Safety Foundation International)
- Fire Safety Tips for Older Adults (Seattle Fire Department)