Escape planning for older adults during Fire Prevention MonthOct 04, 2022 08:50AM ● By Editor
Photo: Age Safe America
From the National Fire Protection Association • October 3, 2022
At age 65, older adults are twice as likely to be killed or injured by fires compared to the population at large. By age 75, that risk increases to three times that of the general population — and to four times by age 85.
Plan for your abilities:
Making a home fire escape plan for yourself and/or the older adults in your household means making plans for your abilities and home environment:
- Remove clutter in the hallways, stairways, and near exits/windows for a clear, safe path out of your home.
- Keep your walker, scooter, cane, or wheelchair by your bed/where you sleep to make sure you can reach it quickly
- Keep your eyeglasses, mobile phone, and a flashlight by your bed/where you sleep to be able to reach them quickly in an emergency.
- If you cannot escape safely, keep your door shut, place a towel or blanket at the bottom of the door and stand near the window for fire service to reach you. Call 911 to let the fire department know you are inside the home.
- If you are deaf, hearing impaired, or have trouble hearing, install a bedside alert such as a bed shaker alarm that works with your smoke alarm to alert you of a fire. Strobe light alarms can be added to your smoke alarms for a visual alert.\
- For people who are visually impaired or blind, the sound of the smoke alarm can become disorienting in an emergency. Practice the escape plan with the sound of the alarm to become familiar with, and practice with the extra noise.
- When looking for an apartment or high-rise home, look for one with an automatic sprinkler system
- For people with cognitive disabilities, work with their healthcare providers and local fire department to make a plan that works for their needs.