Seniors are at risk for fire death and injuries for a number of reasons. They may be less able to take immediate action in the event of a fire, or take medications that affect their ability to make quick decisions. Fortunately, with a few simple steps, older ones - and those who care for them - can significantly reduce the risk of death and injury from fire.
Install Smoke Alarms
Over seventy-five percent of seniors who die each year from fires do not have working smoke alarms in their homes. Since most residential fires occur between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., a working smoke detector is essential. Never assume that the smell of smoke or heat of the fire will be enough to wake you out of a sound sleep. Caregivers should set a task in their homecare system, such as provided by ClearCare, to check batteries in all smoke detectors. When a caregiver clocks into her shift, she will be reminded by ClearCare’s homecare software to complete this important assignment.
Check Fire Hazards
One of the most common causes of home fires is the portable space heater. Be sure to keep heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn, and never leave wet clothing or shoes on top to dry. Caregivers should set a task in their homecare software to turn off space heaters at night and when leaving the home.
Inspect wiring and electrical cords on a regular basis. Replace any that are worn and potentially dangerous. Make sure stoves and ovens are turned off after cooking, and never leave a fireplace fire unattended. Caregivers that use ClearCare’s homecare system and homecare software can create tasks for each of these daily checks.
Develop an Emergency Escape Plan
The time to figure out what to do in an emergency is well in advance, not during the actual event. Seniors should have an escape route to the outdoors from any room in the house. Preventable fire deaths can be dramatically reduced when families know where to go and have a back-up plan in place their original route is blocked.
Home health aides should make a note in ClearCare’s homecare system to regularly review escape plans with every senior in their care. It’s also important to remind seniors not to call 911, then try and escape. Get out of the house first, then go to a neighbor’s to call for help.
Care providers may also want to create tasks in ClearCare’s homecare system and homecare software to make sure the senior has his eyeglasses by his bed at night, and that all nightlights are working.
ClearCare’s homecare software and homecare system have been designed to keep seniors safe in their homes. Combined with the precautions mentioned here, seniors can be kept safe even in the event of a fire.