There are 50,000 fire per year in the UK alone, 140 a day. What can we do to prevent fires for the elderly ?
Many elderly people live alone and alarmingly some of them will also have dementia. What can we do to help keep them as safe as possible and reduce the risk of a house fire?.
Here is a short list of ideas to help with fire safety and the elderly.
- Ensure only one plug is fitted per wall socket and that electrical appliances are un- plugged once they have been used. If someone has arthritic fingers there are plug removers that help pull them out.
- A quick check of fuses is advisable in any non-sealed plug. Check it is the correct amp for the item
- Ensure cables are not work or taped up. If they are they are unsafe and need to be replaced.
- It the elderly person you care for likes candles, suggest they use the battery operated sort, that create the same ambience with out the danger or the soot!
- The chip pan fire has always been the most talked about, perhaps suggest using oven chips and they are healthier too.
- Is their toaster clean and away from flammable items such as curtains or kitchen roll. Many elderly people never empty the crumb tray at the bottom of the toaster, they forget it is there. Burning crumbs are an ideal fire starter.
- Are items like oven gloves and tea towels on the cooker top ? The controls are easily knocked and a fire started.
- Electric blankets should be checked for signs of damage such as fraying, scorch marks and loose connections. Advise the user not to keep it on all night unless it has a thermostat.
- Ensure there are smoke alarms fitted, the fire brigade recommend one per floor and these are so cheap there is no excuse to not have one.
The elderly are at greater risk of death or serious injury in a house fire as they are less able to get out quickly so the more we can do to prevent a fire the better.
For anyone who is also deaf, a standard alarm may not wake them at night and the Action on Hearing charity can advise of specialist alarms with lighting and vibrating mats.