News
November 17, 2017

Fire Safety and Seniors – Have You Really Prepared Your Parents?

When a fire hits, immediate action is needed to get safely out of the house. When your parent’s mobility is impacted by surgery, muscle weakness, or arthritis, acting fast isn’t always possible. How well are your parents prepared for a fire?

Smoke and Heat Detectors Are Important

The first line of defense should be smoke detectors. Most districts require homes to have photoelectric detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, but ionization detectors are not allowed. It’s often best to have both.

Photoelectric detectors respond to fires that smolder and then build. Ionization detectors look for heat and flames. By installing both types, your parents are protected against both types of fires.

Once installed, smoke and fire detectors need to be tested each month. If the test doesn’t work, it’s time to replace a battery. If that doesn’t work, replace the detector. As a general rule, batteries should be replaced every six months. Changing batteries when the clocks changed is a good way to remember.

Create and Practice Escape Plans

You should create plans that show the different escape routes your parents can use in case of a fire. Select a meeting point that’s far enough away from the house to keep them safe. Practice this plan each month.

It’s a good idea to have multiple escape routes. If the fire is on the stairs, they’re going to have to escape through an upstairs window. A window-mounted escape ladder may be necessary. If there are windows that face a garage or deck roof, the roof may become a good escape route if it’s clear of fire.

Post Emergency Numbers

In a stressful event, your mom and dad may not think clearly. Make sure there are numbers saved in a phone or posted near their bed, near phones, and even outside in a safe place. If they have neighbors nearby, they’ll be able to get help from a neighbor, but if they’re remote, neighbors may be miles away.

Keep Necessities Nearby

If the fire happens at night, your parents need to be able to escape safely. Keeping a flashlight next to the bed is helpful. Make sure they put a walker or cane within reach of the bed, too. As they escape their home, they can grab blankets and stay warm.

Make Sure They Have the Help They Need

When your parents live alone and deal with mobility issues, it’s important to make sure someone checks on them regularly. If you’re not close enough, hire a caregiver. Caregivers provide companionship, help with meals, and assistance with laundry.

Senior care professionals can make sure your parent takes other important fire prevention measures. A caregiver can remind your parent to call to schedule a furnace or chimney cleaning. Learn more by calling a senior care agency now.