Fire Safety Tips For The Elderly

Posted on: 21 November 2015

If you have an elderly relative who lives in your home, you will want to take steps in preparing should an unfortunate fire occur. There are several steps you can take to ensure your relative is able to escape the home if a fire breaks out inside. Here are some tips you can use to help your elderly relative have a better chance at survival if a fire occurs.

Select A Loud Alarm

Often the hearing is compromised in old age, making it important to select a fire alarm your relative will be sure to hear. Test several different models before purchasing alarms for your home. Have your relative stand several feet away with their back facing you as you test each model so you can observe their reaction. If your relative is deaf, consider purchasing fire alarms that include vibration or flashing lights so they will be alerted visually or manually instead. Many security companies offer fire alarm installations so you can be sure your system is installed properly.

Check All Openings

All windows and doors in your home need to be accessible in case of a fire. If you have security bars in place, make sure there is a mechanism available to release them from the window from the interior. If any of your windows are painted shut, unseal them using a utility knife or do a complete window replacement if necessary. Locks should be easy for your relative to unlatch on their own. If they have difficulty grasping due to arthritis, install larger latches or knobs so they can move them easily.

Consider Placement

If you do not live in an apartment building, have your relative's bedroom situated on a ground-level floor if possible. This will give them a better chance at escaping without injury as they would not need to climb or jump to safety.

Do A Fire Drill

The best way to see what would happen if a fire were to occur is to run a fire drill periodically with all family members. This will help you find security issues that need to be fixed to help get everyone out of the home quickly. Let your relative know you will be conducting a test to see if they are able to get out of the home efficiently.

If your relative is immobilized, someone else will need to be in charge of getting them outside. There should always be a backup plan in place for how your elderly relative would get out of the home if that person is not there to assist them. The drill can be conducted without this person involved to test the plan as well.

Have Emergency Numbers Available

Provide your elderly relative with a list of emergency phone numbers they can call if a fire occurs. Tell them to call the fire department first and then call family members after they have gotten themselves outside to safety. Consider giving your relative a cell phone they can keep in their pocket at all times in case of any type of emergency. The important numbers can be pre-programmed into the phone so your relative does not need to worry about finding the paper with the list upon it.