Seniors over 65 run a high risk of being injured by fire. Studies show that 30% of fire accidents that occur at home involve senior citizens. A majority of residential fires begin in the kitchen and are often as a result of food being left unattended on the stove. Other common causes of fire accidents include mechanical failures, falling asleep while smoking, faulty wiring systems.
Why are seniors at risk due to fires?
- Many seniors live in homes as old as 20 years, which is beyond the service life of most wiring systems.
- Seniors may panic and may not be able to take quick action that is necessary in a fire emergency.
- They may be on medication that affects their ability to make quick decisions.
- Some seniors show tendency of Hoarding.
- Forgetfulness is more prominent in seniors.
Fire safety products
Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers drastically reduce the chances of fire accidents to your loved ones. Most homes in India neglect this simple but useful safety equipment, while one survey shows 96% of homes in USA have at least one smoke alarms, India is far behind at only 5%.
- Install a smoke alarm outside, but close to the kitchen.
- Buy a battery operated photoelectric type smoke alarm.
For more information on smoke alarms for homes, click here.
- Place one class K fire extinguisher weighing 2 kgs at the exit of the kitchen. Class K extinguisher works best for kitchen fires (K stand for kitchen).
- One all purpose ABC extinguisher in bedroom would be ideal.
For more information on fire extinguishers for home, click here.
Simple fire precautions tips
- Please take time to discuss these fire precautions with your parents.
- Fire Safety Number In India is 101.
- Replace outdated appliances and electrical devices with new ones.
- Replace candles at home with emergency lighting and inverters as electrical backup.
- 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.
- If a fire breaks out in a pan, put a lid on the pan. Never throw water on a grease fire.
- Do not use pest sprays in kitchen, they are highly flammable.
- Don’t overload power points.
- For smokers, never smoke in bed or while laying on a couch.
Seniors living independently might often need assistance from family members to put fire safety measures into place. Family members should take time to discuss about precautions to prevent fire accidents with their loved ones, buy fire safety products and prepare a escape plan should a fire breakout.
A quality smoke alarm and a extinguisher put together will not cost more than 3000/-. Be safe than sorry.
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