In 2015, older adults had a 2.7 times greater risk of dying in a fire than the population as a whole, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Seniors have a reduced capacity to detect and escape fire, as hearing loss, vision problems, and mobility impairment hinder a senior’s ability to safely evacuate.
Does your senior parent live alone? Smoking, cooking, and using space heaters are often the causes of home fires. Help prevent older adult fire incidents and deaths in the Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills communities – and keep your senior parent safe – by sharing the following safety tips, provided by the U.S. Fire Administration:
If your senior parent smokes, encourage them to:
- Never smoke when they are lying down, drowsy, or in bed. Smoking is the no. 1 cause of home fires that kill older adults.
- Use large, deep, tip-resistant ashtrays and place them on a flat surface. This will keep ashes from falling onto a nearby area that might burn.
- Wet cigarette butts and ashes before emptying them into the trash.
- Smoke outside, if possible.
- Never smoke near oxygen tanks.
If your senior parent uses the stove to cook, remind them to:
- Keep an eye on what they fry. Most cooking fires start when someone is frying food.
- Wear short sleeves or roll them up so they don’t catch on fire.
- Move things that can burn away from the stove.
- Don’t cook if they are drowsy from alcohol or medicine.
- Use oven mitts to handle hot pans.
- If a pan of food catches fire, slide a lid over it and turn off the burner.
If your senior parent uses a space heater, encourage them to:
- Keep the heater 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including your senior parent.
- Unplug heaters when they aren’t using them, including when they leave the house or go to bed.
- Consider using heaters that are designed to turn off if they tip over.
In addition to these safety precautions, specialized smoke alarms should be installed in your senior parent’s home. Specialized smoke alarms can be equipped with flashing lights, vibration, and sound in order to effectively alert your aging parent of a fire, even if your senior parent has hearing, vision, or mobility issues.
Once you educate your senior parent living at home with fire safety tips, also reference the following checklist to identify other possible fire safety problems in their home. If you check NO to any question, the potential hazard should be corrected to reduce your senior parent’s risk and increase their preparedness for fire.
- Do you have at least one operable smoke alarm?
- Do you have at least one operable carbon monoxide alarm?
- Are all electrical cords in good condition (not frayed or cracked)?
- Are all electrical cords in the open, not run under rugs or through doorways?
- Are space heaters placed at least 3 feet from combustibles?
- Are space heaters plugged directly into wall sockets and not into extension cords?
- Is your apartment door fireproof and self-closing?
- Is your fire escape window clear and unobstructed?
- Can all windows be opened easily from the inside?
- Are building stairways free of storage and rubbish?
- Are stairway fire doors fireproof, self-closing, and kept closed?
- Are exit lights in the stairway in good working order?
- Do you have operable flashlights handy?
- Do you have a fire escape plan?
If your loved one lives alone and is at risk, consider reaching out to trained home care professionals to help keep your parent living well. We at SYNERGY HomeCare Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills can help your parent age at home and maintain independence while catering to their health needs and ensuring that they live in a safe, familiar, fire-safe environment.
About SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside
Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is the name you can trust in Corona, Norco, Riverside, Chino, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar for personal home care. Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. Synergy HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more. Synergy HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at http://www.synergyhomecare.com/agencies/ca/corona/ca18/. The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 951-280-9808 and [email protected]