The Holiday Season Means Fire Safety Checks for Seniors
Emma Dickison of Home Helpers encourages families to assess fire safety conditions in seniors’ homes.
Cincinnati, OH (PRWEB) November 08, 2013
Adults age 65 and older make up 13 percent of the total population, yet account for 35 percent of all fire-related deaths in the United States according to the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System. According to the National Fire Protection Association, two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms.
“Seniors are at a higher risk of death for a variety of reasons such as decreased mobility and impaired vision or hearing,” according to Emma Dickison, President of Home Helpers and expert in senior safety. “Safety checks in our senior relatives’ homes should be part of every family’s holiday tradition.”
A home safety check should start with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Fire safety officials encourage consumers to replace detector batteries every year at Daylight Savings Time. “This time of year is the perfect time to visit a senior relative and help them with these simple tasks,” Dickison says.
Fire Safety Checklist
- Install smoke detectors in or near the kitchen and sleeping areas, one detector on each floor. Carbon monoxide detectors should also be placed near sleeping areas.
- Replace batteries in any existing detectors and be sure to test them.
- Have a working fire extinguisher readily available in the kitchen or garage.
- Schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning before lighting a fire in the fireplace. Have a fireplace screen in place to catch sparks and ash.
- Make sure space heaters are situated at least three feet in all directions from walls, furniture, flammable materials and walkways.
- Look for extension cords. Improper usage can result in overheating. Check that the proper gauge cords are used for holiday décor, portable heaters, etc. Make sure furniture does not sit on cords. Replace any cords that are broken or frayed.
- Plan an exit strategy. Ensure that rugs, furniture and other items don’t block doors or pose a falling hazard. Add nightlights to illuminate dark corners and hallways.
- Phones should be easily accessible. Add a landline extension to the bedroom. If you have only a cell phone, be sure it’s charged and within reach at nighttime. Cell phones without service can still call 911, as long as there is battery life.
If you don’t live near your parents, try to coordinate with a friend or neighbor who can. Home Helpers locations offer safety checks as part of their services. A walkthrough only takes a few minutes—but it’s these few minutes that can save lives.