Fire Safety Tips You Should Know While Aging in Place

As we age, it can become harder to take care of ourselves on our own and protect ourselves from potentially dangerous situations. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), adults over the age of 65 are twice as likely to be injured or killed by home fires than anyone else. When choosing to age in place, it is critical to maintain proper fire safety protocol. Here, the home care specialists at Avila Home Care discuss fire safety tips for older adults so you can feel safe and secure while aging in place.

Seniors are at a Higher Risk of Injury by House Fires

While unsettling, it is true that the threat of being hurt or killed by a house fire increases as we age. Cooking fires are the number one cause of house fires in the United States. The reason our chances of fire-related injury or death increases with age is due to many of the natural changes that come with old age: poor eyesight, decreased agility and hearing loss are just a few of the many changes that adults face as they age, and these changes can impact our ability to protect ourselves from the threat of fire. While it may be impossible to entirely prevent house fires, there are tried-and-true steps seniors can take to ensure they are prioritizing their safety and mitigating the possibility of these types of situations.

Make Sure Your Smoke Alarms are Working

Unfortunately, a significant amount of house fires occur in homes that do not have working or up-to-date smoke alarms. If your home does not have a smoke alarm, you are left at an incredible risk for severe injury or death in often-avoidable circumstances. While smoke alarms do not prevent fires, they give you a prompt warning that may save your life. Making sure your smoke alarms are functioning properly is a crucial way to optimize your home fire safety protocol and protect yourself and others. Make sure to install a smoke alarm on every floor of your home and test your smoke alarms monthly. Replace the batteries in your smoke alarm at least twice per year.

Avoid Smoking in the House

Many older adults choose to smoke. Even if you have a smoking habit, it is best to avoid smoking inside your home, as smoking is the leading cause of house fires in individuals over the age of 65. If you choose to smoke, make sure you are smoking outside of your home to avoid catching fire to your furniture, carpet or other flammable items. In addition, never smoke near an oxygen tank if you or a loved one require one to breathe properly.

Be Mindful When Cooking

Cooking is another major cause of house fires nationwide, but that doesn’t mean you have to altogether avoid the task. If you enjoy cooking, there are plenty of ways to reduce the risk of house fires. For instance, always make sure your stovetop and oven are cleaned thoroughly to avoid excess food or oil buildup, which can catch fire. In addition, never cook in long sleeves or loosely fitted clothing, and never leave a stovetop burner or oven unattended when they are in-use.

Heat Your Home With Care

Many fires are started because clothing, blankets, curtains or other flammable items are left in close proximity to a space heater. Avoid this severe danger by making sure your space heaters are several feet away from home furnishings and make sure it is not in a place where it is at risk of being tipped over. In addition, if you choose to heat your home with a fireplace, always practice proper fireplace etiquette. Have your fireplace inspected annually and avoid burning any item in your fireplace that is not quality firewood. Do not leave a fireplace unattended for extended periods of time.

Create an Escape Plan that is Catered to Your Abilities

The health issues that many seniors may live with, including conditions like arthritis, may make it more difficult for seniors to quickly and efficiently escape a house fire compared to a younger individual. That is why you should have a thought-out getaway plan in mind in case of an emergency. If you deal with age-related physical or mental conditions that inhibit your ability to move quickly, make sure you have a specific exit in mind that is easily accessible and in close proximity to where you typically spend your time.

Here is How the Home Care Specialists at Avila Home Care Can Assist You

All seniors should feel safe in their home, as it is a sanctuary where they can healthily and happily age in place, provided they implement simple strategies to avoid common hazards, such as house fires. That is why the home care specialists at Avila Home Care can help you check off all the boxes in terms of fire-proofing your home. In addition to our many personal care and supportive services, our compassionate specialists can help check your smoke alarms, help you properly and safely cook food and provide you with other easy lifestyle tips to make your experience as comfortable as possible. To learn more about our long list of aging-in-place services, contact Avila Home Care today!

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