Fire safety is a crucial issue for seniors. Older adults face fire risk factors which do not affect the young. Weaker physical and cognitive capabilities make it harder to identify and respond to a fire, and create a higher risk that a fire will start. Age related changes affect the senses and reduce mobility. Being educated about fire safety and being prepared in case of a fire are invaluable to everyone. As a senior you must take special precautions to care for yourself.
If a fire breaks out in your home, you have only a few minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Everyone needs to know how to get outside if there is a fire.
- Draw a floor plan of your home. If possible, identify two ways out of every room.
- Include everyone in planning and practicing home fire drills. People with disabilities can provide input on the best methods for them to escape.
- People with disabilities should discuss what assistance they may need with everyone in the home (and with neighbors)
- In an apartment building, know the location of all exits stairwells and arrange for assistance (neighbor/buddy system) in case of emergency.
- Choose a meeting place for everyone to meet after escaping.
- Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, on every level of your home. For best protection, interconnect all the smoke alarms so that when one sounds, they all sound.
- Smoke alarms and alert devices, called accessories are available for people who are deaf or for those who are heavy sleepers. Strobe lights or pillow and bed shakers are also available.
- Test your smoke alarms once a month using the test button.
- Practice your home fire escape plan.
Medical Oxygen Safety Tips
- There is no safe way to smoke in the home when oxygen is in use. No one should smoke in a home where a patient is using oxygen.
- Candles, matches, woodstoves, and even sparking toys can be ignition sources and should not be used in a home where medical oxygen is in use.
- Keep oxygen cylinders at least 5 feet (1.5 metres) from a heat source, open flame, or electrical appliance (space heater).
- Body oil, hand lotion, and items containing oil and grease can easily ignite. Keep oil and grease away where oxygen is in use.
- Never use aerosol sprays containing combustible materials near oxygen.
- Post "No Smoking" and "No Open Flames" signs in and outside homes to remind people not to smoke.
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services Fire Prevention Public Education section provides free group fire safety presentations.