Fire precautions save lives

Friday, April 23, 2010

A report from the National Fire Protection Association finds that adults over the age of 75 are nearly three times as likely to die in a home fire as the general public. Adults 85 and over have more than three and a half times the risk of fire death as the general public.

The report also found that from 1980 to 2007, the share of home fire deaths accounted for by older adults, age 65 and over, increased from 19 percent to 29 percent.

To help keep older adults living safely at home for as long as possible, NFPA offers these fire prevention messages:

*Plan and practice your escape from fire

If possible, you should know two ways out of every room in your house and two ways out of the home. Also, make sure windows and doors open easily.

*Plan your escape around your abilities

Have a telephone in your bedroom and post the local emergency number nearby in case you are trapped by smoke or fire.

*Smoke alarms save lives

Have smoke alarms installed outside each sleeping area, on every level of your home, and in each bedroom. Have someone test each alarm at least once a month.

*Give space heaters space

When heaters are on, keep them at least three feet away from anything that can burn. Shut off and unplug heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.

*If you smoke, smoke outside

Use deep, sturdy ashtrays and wet cigarette butts and ashes before throwing them out. Never smoke in bed. Never smoke if you use medical oxygen.

*Be kitchen wise

Wear tight-fitting clothing or short sleeves when cooking and use oven mitts to handle hot pans. Never leave cooking unattended and do not cook if you are drowsy from alcohol or medication. If a pan with food catches on fire, slide a lid over it and turn off the burner.

*Stop, drop, and roll

If your clothes catch on fire: stop, drop gently to the ground and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth to put out the fire. Use cool water for 3 to 5 minutes to cool the burn. Get medical help immediately.

*Know your local emergency number

It may be 9-1-1 or the fire department's number. Once you have escaped a fire, call the fire department from a neighbor's phone.

You can save your life by following these safety precautions!