Holiday Fire Safety For Seniors Aging In Place

November 20, 2018

This coming season is a special time of year. The holidays are a joyful occasion when everyone gets to spend time together, share stories and create new memories, particularly for seniors whose families live far away. The holidays often involve decor and activities that may present safety hazards for seniors aging in place. To ensure that your home is fire safe during the holiday season, consider the following:

  • DON’T drape string lights or electrical cords across pathways. Not only will they create a fall hazard if they are exposed, but these decorations can impede wheelchair and walker access even when concealed under a rug.
  • DO invest in high-quality lights and decorations. Low-quality electrical decorations are more likely to short and present fire hazards.
  • DON’T use flammable decor. Avoid using decorations that can easily catch on fire such as paper, wood, tinsel and tissue paper.
  • DO ensure that fire detectors are installed in every room, and that a fire extinguisher is on hand in case of emergencies.
  • DON’T stage large floor arrangements, particularly if space is limited. Floor arrangements make walkable pathways narrower and create tripping hazards.
  • DO buy a fire-resistant artificial tree, or a real tree that is sticky with sap and has only green needles. Young trees are less flammable than trees with dead or dying branches and make sure to keep the basin full of water.
  • DON’T use the fireplace as your main source of heat. Keep the area around the fireplace clear of flammable materials.
  • DO create an emergency fire escape plan that is posted in a common area so that loved ones and friends might take note of its instructions.
  • DO keep a close watch on kitchen appliances. Family and friends can become distracting, causing you to forget a heated oven, toaster or stove top.
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