A Caretaker’s Guide to Fire Safety for Older Adults

Posted by Omega Security on January 29, 2014

When aging parents can live independently, it’s a great source of pride for them and a great source of happiness for their adult children. Sometimes, it’s also a great source of anxiety. Worrying about mom boiling water on the stove or the electric blanket that sits permanently on her lap can cause a great deal of stress for caregivers who can’t be with their loved ones 24/7.

fire safety systems

The best way to avoid that anxiety is to be proactive about the safety of elderly friends and family who are living out their golden years autonomously.

Monitored Security

The first order of business is ensuring the seniors in your life have a state-of-the-art home security monitoring system. There should be modern, tested smoke detectors on every level of the home, including in all bedrooms and cooking areas. In addition to working alarm mechanisms to alert your loved ones about potential dangers, around-the-clock monitoring service ensures that help is on the way in the event of an emergency.

Remote Access

Choosing a home security monitoring system with remote access can provide great peace of mind. If an alarm triggers, you can be notified on your devices, such as smartphones and desktop computers. With home automation functionality, you can also check in on your loved one. Imagine being able to identify that an appliance was left on and even have the control to turn it off if need be.

Kitchen Safety

When it comes to fire safety systems, protecting against kitchen fires is the most challenging because the vast majority of residential fires start in the kitchen.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends reminding aging friends and relatives of the following basic kitchen safety guidelines:

• Don’t leave food unattended on the stove or in the oven.

• Avoid wearing loose clothing that can catch fire from the stove burners.

• Double-check appliances before leaving the kitchen to ensure they are turned off.

• Never use the oven or stove to heat the home.

You can also help by modernizing and organizing the kitchen in a way that makes it as safe for senior use as possible.

Current Mattresses

After kitchen accidents, the leading cause of house fires is smoking in bed. You can help make such fires less likely by ensuring your loved one’s mattress is current. Immediately replace any mattress made prior to 2007, which was when the new Federal Mattress Flammability Standard went into effect.

Heater Safety

Many seniors enjoy space heaters and electric blankets in addition to the home’s main heating source because they provide greater local heat. Space heaters should be kept at least three feet away from any inflammable materials. It’s also a good idea to replace older heaters and blankets with modern units that offer advanced safety features.

Practiced Escape Plan

In the event of a fire, it’s imperative that elderly relatives know how to react. Pick up a Florida fire and safety kit, and use that information to create a response plan and set up an emergency kit. Keep in mind that a plan is only as effective as your familiarity with it, so be sure to practice the drill with your loved one.

Though it’s impossible to prepare for every imaginable mishap elderly relatives living alone can encounter, taking proactive safety and security measures will ensure mom stays cozy with her electric blanket and you get a good night’s sleep.