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Fire Safety for Seniors Living At Home

Fire safety is an important consideration for any senior who chooses to age in place. With some planning and a few precautions, you can greatly reduce the risk of accidental fires in the home.

Here are some important considerations when it comes to fire safety for seniors:

  • An escape plan.Everyone should have two potential escape routes in mind in case of a fire. When it comes to planning a fire escape for seniors, keep floors free of clutter, especially in bedrooms, hallways, and staircases. Have a light and telephone within reach of beds and any areas that you (or your ageing loved one) spends a lot of time. In-home caregivers are trained to spot potential tripping and other safety hazards and can ensure areas are clear and that the care recipient has what they need nearby when they go to sleep.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.There should be a working smoke detector on every level of the home and a carbon monoxide detector outside of sleeping areas. Each one should be tested monthly and batteries replaced yearly or sooner if needed. As this usually requires reaching high and/or getting on a chair or ladder; the responsibility can be assigned to a caregiver who can do it safely.
  • Cooking safety. You can reduce the risk by keeping flammable materials away from burners, setting timers, and turning pot handles away from you to avoid accidentally knocking pots over. Don’t cook wearing long or loose sleeves or any clothing that can dangle and make contact with the stove. Meal preparation is one of many in-home care services offered by Living Assistance Services. Having a caregiver take over cooking can eliminate the risk. For seniors who love to cook, a caregiver in the home while they’re cooking can also help. This is especially important when cooking multiple dishes or deep-frying.
  • Space heater use. Space heaters on common in most Canadian homes thanks to our frigid winters, but they’re a common cause of accidental fires in homes. Choose heaters with an automatic safety shutoff that turn off when moved or tipped over. When using a heater, keep it 3 feet away from curtains, furniture, and any materials that can catch fire. Post a note as a reminder near the door to shut off heaters before you or the caregiver leaves the home.
  • Smoking safety. The risk of accidental fires is higher for seniors who smoke. It’s important to never smoke in bed or when tired because of the risk of falling asleep with a lit cigarette. You can also reduce the risk of smoking-related fire by using special products, such as a smoker’s bib to protect clothing from a dropped cigarette or ashes, or an ashtray with a remote tube that leaves the lit cigarette over the ashtray at all times while you smoke via the tube.

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