All humans can be at risk anytime a fire starts unexpectedly, but particularly older adults. Seniors are at particular risk in a situation where a fire starts, and this is a perfect time to go over these risks.
At Legacy House in Avondale, our assisted living facilities are equipped with a full range of fire safety precautions. Here are some basic statistics on fire risks for seniors, plus some general tips you can give to a senior friend or loved one whether or not they’re entering retirement living.
Fire Statistics for Seniors
According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), seniors face twice the risk of injury or fatal harm during a home fire than the general population. Research also shows that adults over the age of 85 face even worse odds – they’re at almost five times more risk in a given home fire. As a result, while seniors account for just 13 percent of the population of the United States, 35 percent of the deaths related to fires are seniors.
Fire Safety Tips
There are several things that seniors and caregivers can do to help increase fire safety precautions:
- Smoke alarm alternatives: Every second counts when a fire breaks out, and older adults with hearing loss might not be able to rely on a traditional smoke detector – they might not hear it. New fire technology includes smartphone alerts or wearable devices, or flashing lights. Some can even shake the bed to wake a sleeping senior if a fire starts.
- Home security: It’s generally a good idea to add fire safety protection to a home security system. Features can automatically alert the fire department if there’s a fire.
- Escape routes: Plan more than one escape route, and practice evacuating the home with the senior in question. For seniors in memory care programs, consider drawn-up plans in a very obvious place in case they forget. Ensure that all escape routes are easy to access at any time of day or night, and consider adding motion sensor night lights.
- Safe place: In addition to an escape route, discuss a plan for where a senior should go if they have to evacuate the home. Agree on a safe place, usually a trusted neighbor’s home. Again, if memory loss is an issue, try to keep this plan in a very obvious place.
For more on senior fire safety, or to learn more about any of our retirement living programs, speak to the caregivers at Legacy House in Avondale today.