Knowing what to do in the event of a fire is particularly important for older adults. At age 65, people are twice as likely to be killed or injured by fires compared to the population at large. And with our numbers growing every year – in the United States and Canada, adults age 65 and older make up about 12 percent of the population – it’s essential to take the necessary steps to stay safe.
Remembering When™ is centered around 16 key safety messages – eight fire prevention and eight fall prevention – developed by experts from national and local safety organizations as well as through focus group testing in high-fire-risk states. The program was designed to be implemented by a coalition comprising the local fire department, service clubs, social and religious organizations, retirement communities, and others. Coalition members can decide how to best approach the local senior population: through group presentations, during home visits, and/or as part of a smoke alarm installation and fall intervention program.
· If you smoke, smoke outside.
· Provide smokers with large, deep, sturdy ashtrays.
· Wet cigarette butts and ashes before throwing them out or bury them in sand.
· Never smoke in bed. · Never smoke if medical oxygen is used in the home.
· Give space heaters space.
· Keep them at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn –including you.
· Shut off and unplug heaters when you leave your home or go to bed.
· Always plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet, never into an extension cord or a power strip.
· Stay in the kitchen when frying, boiling, grilling, or boiling food.
· If you leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the burner and move the pan to a cool burner.
· Use a timer when cooking. If you are cooking on the stove top and leave the room, take a timer, an oven mitt, or a wooden spoon as a reminder that you have something cooking.
· If a pan of food catches fire, slide a lid over it and turn off the burner.
· Don’t cook if you are drowsy from alcohol or medication.
· Do not cook when taking new medication until you know how it will affect you.
· Wear tight-fitting, rolled up, or short sleeves when cooking.
· Use oven mitts to handle hot pans.
· Use lightweight manageable pans.
· If your clothes catch fire: stop, drop, and roll.
· Stop (don’t run), drop gently to the ground, and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth to put out the fire.
· If you cannot drop and roll, keep a blanket or towel nearby to smother flames.
· If you use a wheelchair, scooter, or other device and are able to get to the floor, lock the device first
before getting out and then roll until the flames are out.
· If you are a bystander, consider grabbing a rug, blanket, or fire blanket to help extinguish the flames.
Use cool water for 3-5 minutes to cool the burn. Get medical help right away.
· Working smoke alarms save lives.
· Have smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside each
· For the best protection, make sure the alarms are interconnected so when one sounds, they all sound.
· Have someone test your smoke alarms once a month by pushing the test button. Make sure everyone in
your home can hear the smoke alarms.
· Replace all alarms that are 10 year old or older.
· If you are hard of hearing or remove your hearing aids to sleep, consider purchasing a strobe alarm and/
or bed shaker.
· Install carbon monoxide alarms outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
· Plan and practice your escape from fire and smoke.
· If possible, plan two ways out of every room in your home and two ways out of your home.
· Make sure windows and doors open easily.
· If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
· Know your local emergency number.
· Your emergency number may be 9-1-1 or the fire department’s phone number.
· Once you have escaped a fire, call the fire department from a neighbor’s phone or a cell phone.
· In case of a medical emergency, have other emergency contact numbers (neighbor, family member) near
the phone to call for assistance while waiting for first responder to arrive.
· Plan your escape around your abilities.
· Have a landline telephone or cell phone and charger near your bed, with the local emergency number posted nearby in case you are trapped by smoke or
· Consider subscribing to a medical alert system, which will provide you with a button you wear around your neck or on your wrist.
· If you have an emergency, just push the button and the service will send emergency responders.
· Have other necessary items near your bed such as medications, glasses, wheelchair, walker, scooter, or cane.
· Keep a flashlight and whistle near your bed to signal for help.
Fall Prevention Safety
· Exercise regularly.
· Exercise regularly to build strength and improve your balance and coordination. Ask your doctor about the best physical exercise for you.
· Take your time.
· Get out of chairs slowly.
· Sit a moment before you get out of your bed.
· Stand and get your balance before you walk.
· Be aware of your surroundings
· Keep stairs and walking areas clear.
· Keep stairs and walking areas free of electrical cords, shoes, clothing, books, magazines, and other treasures.
· Improve the lighting in and outside your home.
· Use nightlights or a flashlight to light the path between your bedroom and the bathroom.
· Turn on the lights before using the stairs.
· See an eye specialist once a year—better vision can help prevent falls.
· Use non-slip mats.
· Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
· Have grab bars installed on the wall next to the bathtub, shower, and toilet.
· Wipe up spilled liquids immediately
· Be aware of uneven surfaces.
· Be aware of uneven surfaces indoors and
· Use only throw rugs that have rubber, nonskid backing.
· Consider placing non-skid rug pads under rugs.
· Always smooth out wrinkles and folds in
· Be aware of uneven sidewalks and pavement
· Ask a family member or friend to clear ice and snow from outside stairs and walkways and always use handrails if available.
· Step carefully.
· Stairways should be well lit.
· Stairways should be well lit from both the top and the bottom.
· Have easy-to-grip handrails installed along the full length of both sides of the stairs.
· Wear sturdy, well fitting shoes.
· Wear sturdy, well-fitting, low-heeled shoes with non-slip soles. These are safer than high heels, thick-soled athletic shoes, slippers, or stocking feet.