October is National Fire Prevention Awareness Month. For older adults, the risk of being harmed or fatally injured in a fire is more than double that of younger adults. When a senior reaches the age of 85 their risk climbs to nearly five times higher. That means that while seniors make up only 13% of this country’s population, they account for almost 35% of the fire-related deaths. For adult children and caregivers in the greater Columbus area, these are very sobering statistics to read.
To raise awareness about the fire dangers older adults face, we thought it would be helpful if we shared a few fire safety resources with the adult children and caregivers in central Ohio who follow our updates.
Fire Safety Resources for Senior Loved Ones
1. Because most home fires begin in the kitchen, the National Fire Prevention Association created this kitchen fire safety infographic, “Keep an Eye on What You Fry,” to help with education. It covers a variety of topics ranging from how to handle a pan fire to a reminder not to leave the kitchen when broiling, frying, or grilling.
2. Seniors often use space heaters to supplement home heating. While space heater fires aren’t common, when they do occur one in twenty of them will lead to a fatality. This information sheet on how to safely use space heaters is full of good tips to share with the seniors you love.
3. Having working smoke detectors in the home is one of the very best ways to prevent being harmed in a fire. If your senior loved one lives with a hearing impairment, you can install smoke detectors that flash a strobe light and/or send out a vibration to alert them of the danger. Some models also can shake the bed in case they are sleeping when a fire alarm goes off.
4. If you would like to conduct a fire risk evaluation of an aging loved one’s home, this free Fire Safety Checklist Guide from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) can help. It also includes a section on how to plan an escape route with your senior family member.