Our risk of injury in a home fire increases as we grow older. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help prevent a house fire and if you find yourself in a fire, there are steps to help increase your chances of getting out unharmed. Here are some tips on how you can protect seniors from a house fire.
Your best defense is a good smoke alarm – outside of each sleeping area and on each floor of your home. Make sure that your smoke alarm battery is changed regularly so that you get an early warning if a fire breaks out in your home.
Keep a Fire Extinguisher
You should always have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen to put out kitchen fires – the most common type of home fire. It is also a good idea to have a small fire extinguisher that you can keep on hand, especially if you have limited mobility. Make sure that you know how to use your fire extinguisher. You can always contact your local fire department, who will be happy to show you how to use it safely and effectively.
Choose Units and Rooms Wisely
If you live in an apartment or condominium, choose a ground-floor unit near the exit. If you can’t have the ground floor, choose the lowest floor available to you. The less distance between you and safety is key. If you live in a multi-story home, make your bedroom on the ground floor.
Use Space Heaters Safely
Space heaters should be used with care during the winter. Choose heaters that have a safety switch, so they cut off if knocked over. Make sure that you keep the heater on a solid surface and at least 3 feet away from flammable items like furniture. In addition, never sleep with your heater on. Instead, heat the room, then turn off the heater before bed.
Plan Your Escape
Have an evacuation plan that takes into account your physical abilities. Practice fire drills at least twice a year alone and with family or anyone who might sleep over for a visit. This ensures that you and anyone with you know what to do in the event of a fire.
During a Fire
If you find yourself in a fire, the most important thing to remember is don’t panic. You should try to get out to safety as quickly as possible. Don’t try to take personal items, no matter how much they mean to you, and move quickly but carefully. Make sure that you test doors before you open them and close doors behind you when you leave. In addition, remember these simple tips:
Smoke rises, so stay low if there is smoke. Staying low can also minimize your chances of falling and injury.
Stop. Drop. Roll.
If any part of you or anything you’re wearing catches fire, don’t panic. Get to the ground as quickly and safely as you can and roll to put out the fire. Once you’re down and the flame is out, continue getting yourself out to safety.
If you find yourself trapped, fill cracks and cover vents with damp cloth or tape if necessary. Call 911 if you can (if you don’t have a cell phone, talk to your county as many communities provide some kind of cell service for seniors) and wait by a window with lights on or a flashlight to signal to rescuers.
Fires are dangerous, but prevention and caution will help prevent them. If you find yourself in a fire, being prepared and calm will help ensure you make it out safely. For more information, contact Angels On Call today!