Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fire Safety for Seniors

Senior Thursday

Fires are dangerous under any circumstances, but even more so for seniors.  One reason they are more prone to injury is because of their decreased mobility.  They don't move as quickly, and can't always get out of a room or down the hall fast enough.  If they live alone, there is nobody to assist them in their escape.  Also, their medications often have side effects, which slows their reaction time.

There are fire hazards that seniors are particularly susceptible to, so it is important to check on elderly relatives and friends.  One of these is kitchen fires.  They often start because seniors forget they have food cooking on the stove, and it starts to burn.  Or they may fall asleep from medication while dinner is cooking. 

Another common cause of fires is smoking-related.  Whether it's the cigarette or the matches, carelessness and sleep often contribute to the danger. 

Portable heating units are another preventable cause.  Placing them too near curtains, bedding or clothing can cause fabrics to start on fire. 

Finally, faulty wiring from old appliances or old homes is common.  Being frugal can have its drawbacks.  Seniors often don't want to part with a "perfectly good lamp" without realizing that the cord is so frayed that live wires are exposed.

Protect your family and friends by checking for these hazards.  Share these tips with them. 

·         If you leave the kitchen when cooking, take a spoon or towel with you to remind you there is food on the stove.

·         Never cook with loose, dangling sleeves.

·         Never use water to put out grease fires.  Use a pot lid instead.

·         Never use your stove to heat your home.

·         Use only Underwriter Laboratories approved units to heat your rooms.

·         Don't leave smoking materials unattended.

·         Install smoke detectors on every level of your home.

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