Safety Tips - Older Ohioans

Fire is a Major Destroyer of Property & Lives

There is a fire in someone’s home in Ohio every 30 minutes. Each year about 130 people die in residential fires and more than $150 million worth of property is destroyed by fire.

Older adults are often at the greatest risk. One third of the adult fire fatalities in Ohio are age 60 and over. Burn injuries are very painful and require long recovery times.

Five Leading Causes of Fire Deaths at Home

  • Arson
  • Cooking
  • Electrical
  • Heating sources, like furnaces, wood stoves and space heaters
  • Careless Smoking

A Smoke Detector Can Make the Difference Because...

50% of all fire deaths take place in residences not equipped with working smoke detectors. Smoke detectors can provide early warning of fires, allowing time for individuals to escape and firefighters to arrive before the fire grows.

Buying Your Smoke Detector

  • Smoke detectors are inexpensive - $5 to $20, and can be purchased at most hardware and department stores. Chose one that it is “UL” approved.
  • Smoke detectors make thoughtful gifts for friends and relatives.

Installing Your Smoke Detector

  • Smoke detectors should be installed on each level of your home and in sleeping areas.
  • They are easy to install. Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Installation is usually easy, however, if you need assistance, ask a neighbor, relative, or the local fire department.

Taking Care of Your Smoke Detector

  • Smoke detectors should be tested once a month. Most have a test button to press. If you have difficulty in reaching it, try a broom handle.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke detector twice a year. When you change your clock, change your battery.

Fire Safety Tips

  • Fire prevention is still the best method of fire safety, and since some older adults have problems moving quickly - and suffer more when injuries and smoke inhalation occur - it is essential to prevent fires from happening at all.
  • Plan two escape routes from your home or apartment and practice this plan on a regular basis. Have a meeting point outside so family and friends will know where you will be.
  • If the smoke alarm goes off get outside; check for other family members; then go to a neighbor’s house and call 911. Don’t ever go back into a house that is on fire
  • Never smoke in bed or in your favorite, comfortable chair when you feel drowsy or you are tired. Careless smoking is the number one cause of fire deaths.
  • When emptying ashtrays, make sure that all smoking materials are completely extinguished.
  • Loose fitting clothing is dangerous when cooking over a stove. Never leave your cooking unattended. Set a timer or wear a wristband to remind you to check on your cooking or to turn all of the burners off when done.
  • Using towels as potholders is dangerous. They ignite easily if placed too near a burner.
  • A circuit breaker or fuse that constantly trips or blows may be a sign of a possible electrical problem. Call an electrician or other qualified person to check the wiring.
  • Keep anything that might burn at least three feet away from any type of space heater - including electric heaters.
  • Check all appliance cords for fraying and exposed wires. If you need an extension cord, use one with a built-in circuit breaker.
  • Sleep with your bedroom door closed. This helps keep any smoke and flames from reaching you.
  • Keep your eyeglasses, a flashlight, and a whistle near your bed. Your glasses and a flashlight can help you escape. If trapped, blowing the whistle can alert firefighters to your location.
  • In a fire, smoke and heat usually rise; so bend low, or crawl, if necessary, and get out quickly. Never go back into a burning structure. It can kill you! Remember- get out and stay out.
  • If your clothes catch on fire, cover your face, drop to the floor and roll until the flames have gone out. Or drape a large blanket or towel around your body to extinguish the flames.
  • Candle fires are increasing. Do not leave burning candles unattended. Use a firesafe holder.

Final Safety Note

Always remember - if an emergency should occur dial 9-1-1 as soon as you have safely removed yourself from the situation.