Are Older People at Risk?
Older Americans are at risk for fire death
and injuries for a number of reasons:
They may be less able
to take the quick action necessary in a fire emergency.
They may be on
medication that affects their ability to make quick
Many older people live
alone and when accidents happen others may not be around
Fire Hazards Affect Older People?
Cooking accidents are
the leading cause of fire related injuries for older
Americans. The kitchen is one of the most active and
potentially dangerous rooms in the home.
The unsafe use of
smoking materials is the leading cause of fire deaths
among older Americans.
Heating equipment is
responsible for a big share of fires in seniors' homes.
Extra caution should be used with alternate heaters such
as wood stoves or electric space heaters.
Faulty wiring is
another major cause of fires affecting the elderly.
Older homes can have serious wiring problems, ranging
from old appliances with bad wiring to overloaded
Tips for Older Americans
Kitchen Fires. Most kitchen
fires occur because food is left unattended on the stove
or in the oven. If you must leave the kitchen while
cooking, take a spoon or potholder with you to remind
you to return to the kitchen.
Never cook with loose, dangling sleeves that can ignite
easily. Heat cooking oils
gradually and use extra caution when deep-frying. If a
fire breaks out in a pan, put a lid on the pan. Never
throw water on a grease fire. Never use a range or stove
to heat your home.
Space Heaters. Buy only
Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) approved heaters. Use only
the manufacturer's recommended fuel for each heater. Do
not use electric space heaters in the bathroom or around
other wet areas. Do not dry or store objects on top of
your heater. Keep combustibles away from heat sources.
Smoking. Don't leave smoking
materials unattended. Use "safety ashtrays" with wide
lips. Empty all ashtrays into the toilet or a metal
container every night before going to bed. Never smoke
having a working smoke alarm
dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire.
And remember to practice a home escape plan frequently
with your family.