Madawaska Valley Fire Department’s – Fire Safety for Seniors!

Seniors choosing to live in their own home are the most vulnerable when it comes to house fires! Which is why the Madawaska Valley Fire Department wants to help educate you and your loved ones on how to keep everyone, especially seniors, safe!

As we age, people develop weaker physical (and potentially mental) capabilities making it harder to identify and respond to fire. The best way to ensure yourself and the seniors in your life are safe is to help develop proper safety measures.

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms save lives! Having smoke alarms installed and maintained correctly in homes could very well be the difference between making it out in time, or not at all. Here’s a few important facts to remember about smoke alarms!

  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of the home – it’s now law in Ontario!
  • Test smoke alarms on a monthly basis
  • Replace alarm batteries at least twice a year
  • If your smoke alarm “Chirps” replace the batteries right away
  • If you or your loved one is deaf or hard of hearing purchase smoke alarms that flash or vibrate

Escape Plan

We all need up to date escape plans to fit current capabilities. Make sure everyone has updated these plans and practice them.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when updating escape plans!

  • Make sure there are two ways out of every room
  • Keep hallways and stairs uncluttered
  • Call 9-1-1 from a neighbor’s house, and avoid going back inside the home
  • If you can’t leave on your own, still dial 9-1-1
  • Keep a phone beside your bed! Along with anything else you might need like shoes, house keys, glasses, and a flashlight

Smoking

Careless smoking is a leading cause of fire deaths for the elderly. If your loved ones smoke, remind them to avoid doing so in bed. Encourage them to soak the ashes in water before discarding of them and avoid leaving smoking essentials unattended! For added safety encourage them to use large ashtrays with deep sides.

Cooking

Cooking fires are the number one cause of fire injuries among seniors. Remind loved ones and remember these important steps when cooking!

  • Never leave cooking food unattended
  • If they do need to step away, turn off the stove
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and check the pressure gauge monthly
  • Avoid loose clothing that could easily catch fire
  • Keep towels and potholders away from the stove
  • Clean the exhaust hood and duct over the stove regularly

Heating

While heating your home is completely normal, there are safety precautions the elderly should take in order to avoid potential fire hazards. They include…

  • Having the furnace and chimney inspected by a professional at least once a year
  • Keeping newspapers, rags, and other combustible materials away from their furnace, hot water, and space heaters
  • Watching for electrical overload signals including dimming lights when they turn on an appliance
  • And never using their oven as a heater if their house feels too cold or the furnace goes off

It’s An Emergency!

House fires can still happen anytime, anywhere. But, with proper education and practices, you’ll be better prepared to handle them. Now that you know everything you need to help keep the loved ones in your life safe, it’s time to get to work!

For more info on fire safety visit – http://www.madawaskavalley.ca/emergencymgmt.php

Or call your local Township of Madawaska Valley Fire department Fire Hall. And if it’s an emergency always remember to call 9-1-1!