While there are many benefits to seniors living at home there are also some safety concerns. One of these safety concerns is fire. Seniors may not be able to react as quickly as younger individuals in the event of a home fire. Additionally, mental and physical changes (like dementia or loss of senses) as a result of aging may prevent aging individuals from even knowing there is a fire. Fortunately, there are some things that family members and seniors can do to prevent fire and prepare for a fire-related emergency situation.
Statistics on Seniors Living at Home and Fire
According to the U.S. Fire Administration in 2014, seniors are highest at risk for suffering from death in a fire-related incident. Other statistics on seniors living at home and fire include:
- Elderly individuals are only 14% of the entire population but are victims of 38% of deaths related to fire incidents.
- Seniors living at home are over 2 and a half more times likely to die from fire-related incidents than any other demographic of people in America.
- People over the age of 81 are over 4 times more likely to die from fire-related incidents than any other demographic of people in America.
What Seniors Living at Home Can Do to Prepare for and Prevent a Fire
Invest in fire alarm systems: Most homes have smoke alarm systems installed. But, if your senior loved one’s smoke alarm system ready and prepared for a fire? These systems should be routinely checked. And, the batteries should be swapped at least twice yearly. Additionally, make sure that smoke alarms are present in the room in which your senior loved one sleeps. That way, if a fire were to occur while they sleep, they will be able to be notified immediately.
Create an escape plan: While preventing fires altogether is the best goal, you must also plan for the case of a fire. So, what would your elderly loved one do in the case of a fire? It’s imperative to come up with a plan to set into place in case of this emergency situation. This includes making sure your loved one is aware of all safe exits, placing telephones in every room so that 911 can be reached, and preparing an evacuation bag with clothing and tools he/she may need in the case of a fire.
Preventing fire from smoking: Unfortunately, smoking is one of the biggest reasons why the elderly die in fire-related incidents. So, it’s important that seniors at home understand the risk for fire when smoking in the home. It’s best if your loved one refuses to stop smoking, to smoke outdoors. And, it’s also important that they understand that smoking utensils should never be left unattended without first being completely extinguished.
Make sure everything works: Another common reason for a fire in the home of seniors is unchecked applications. Ovens, stoves, furnaces, fireplaces, dryers, and any other application which holds heat should be annually checked for routine maintenance. This could prevent a fire from occurring. Furthermore, make sure that all doors and windows are checked for effective movement. In the case of a fire, escape is the number one concern. Therefore, all exits should be made available.
Home Caregivers for Seniors Living at Home
If you are worried that your loved one who lives at home is at a higher risk for fire-related incidents, an in-home caregiver may be able to help ease your mind. Referred caregivers may be able to help come up with an effective evacuation plan, change smoke alarm batteries, help in the case of a fire, and more! If you think that your senior loved one and family may benefit from receiving a referral for a qualified, experience in-home caregiver, please call Florida First Senior Home Care today at 561-771-5980.