As the weather gets colder, these essential fire safety tips can protect the lives & independence of your older loved ones
It’s that time of year to break out the heavy blankets, turn the heat up, and get the fireplace roaring. But as we make our homes nice and cozy, it’s also important for caregivers to ensure the seniors under their care and their homes are protected against fires.
As people start warming up their homes for the cold season, the risk of house fires increases. And according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), people aged 65 and older are twice as likely to be injured in a fire than the rest of the population.
This is typically because older adults often live with limited mobility, sensory impairments, and health conditions that affect their ability to respond to emergencies. That’s why, in today’s blog, we’ll be exploring fire safety for seniors, including special considerations to empower your older loved ones to stay safe and minimize their risk of house fires.
Plan Around Your Senior’s Physical Condition
Fire safety for seniors often looks different from person to person, and that’s because it involves adaptation. When creating an emergency plan with an older adult, you’ll need to consider certain aspects of their health to make sure they can follow it properly if need be.
These factors include their hearing ability, sight, overall strength, and level of mobility—if they need a cane, walker, or other assistive device to move around. With these things in mind, you can adapt their fire emergency plan to their physical capabilities so they can deal with the fire or evacuate to safety as quickly and easily as possible.
If your older loved one lives in a two-story home, it may be safer for them to sleep on the ground floor. That way, if a fire breaks out at night, they can escape without the hassle of climbing stairs or braving a second-story window ladder.
Stairs already pose a significant fall risk for older adults, especially at night when visibility is low. Add to that the panic of trying to escape during a fire, and an already bad situation could quickly become much worse.
Making sleeping arrangements downstairs is a great way of adapting your senior’s fire escape plan if their mobility makes climbing stairs slow or difficult. The risk of getting caught on the second floor simply isn’t worth it, and having access to a faster escape route will help ease their mind and preserve their independence.
Smoke Alarms for Seniors With Hearing Loss
According to the NFPA, the smoke from a fire usually doesn’t wake you up. Instead, it puts you into a deeper sleep, which is why most fires that result in death happen at night when the victim is fast asleep.
That’s why, whether your older loved one lives in an apartment, townhouse, or standalone home, their living space should have smoke alarms on every floor.
If they live with hearing loss, you can find alternative smoke alarms made specifically for them. Rather than sounding a blaring alarm, these devices use bright, flashing lights and strong vibrations to alert residents of a fire.
Also, if you and your older loved one are house hunting for them, make sure any apartments you find have emergency sprinkler systems installed. If a fire grows out of control and they can’t escape, these systems do a great job of minimizing and even extinguishing apartment fires before firefighters arrive.
You Know the Drill
If you live with an older adult, it’s essential to practice your fire evacuation plan with them regularly. If they’re unable to evacuate on their own, it’s crucial to assign someone to help them as well as backup helpers in case the first person isn’t home.
If they live independently, this practice is just as important, if not more so. Take the time to create a plan that includes evacuation routes for every room, opening necessary doors and windows to escape, contacting emergency services, and who to call when they reach safety.
These drills will keep the procedures and escape routes fresh in their mind, so when the time comes, everything will be second nature.
Dispatch Firefighters With 2 Taps, No Talking Required
Fire safety for seniors is all about empowering them to respond fast and with as little hassle as possible. Speed and convenience are critical.
That’s why setting your older loved one up with the Rescu app is the best way to protect them and their home during a fire.
Compared to 911, which requires them to explain who they are, where they live, and what they’re experiencing—all while their house is going up in flames…
Rescu allows them to dispatch firefighters to their address with just two easy taps. There’s no need for a phone call because when you set up their account, you can pre-register their personal and location information in the app.
Then, when they send an alert, Rescu instantly delivers this information to first responders so they know exactly where they’re going and who they’re helping.
And the best part?
You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use Rescu. When your older loved one opens the app, all they have to do is select the service they need—fire, police, or medical—and then tap “Send Alert.”
Believe it or not, Rescu’s call-free system and private UL-certified monitoring center make for response times that are twenty times faster than 911.
When speed and convenience are deal breakers, nothing beats the Rescu app. Set your older loved one up with 24/7 peace of mind today.