Fire safety

this is an image of a house on fire

Fire safety for the elderly and disabled. 

Fire safety is important for us all but especially so for the elderly and disabled who are less able to flee a burning building.

Did you know that most house fires occur at night? Make sure  a smoke alarm is situated near the bedroom. There should be an alarm on every level of the home and the batteries need to be tested weekly. If the alarm goes off by mistake do not remove the batteries.

Fire safety for someone with hearing difficulties.

For anyone with hearing loss living either alone or with someone else who has hearing loss there are smoke alarms which use strobe lights and vibrating pads placed under the pillow at night. More information about these is available from the Local Sensory Loss Team. If you care for someone who has specialist equipment such as a text phone or minicom do they know they can call the emergency services 18000 ?

If someone is concerned they won’t hear the alarm because they live in a large property they may want to think about having a linked system installed, then if a fire is detected in one room they will all sound.

Sight loss and Fire safety.

Not massively helpful but brightly coloured stickers may help someone see the smoke alarm better. I would suggest a piece of high visibility tape may also be useful. It may be brighter to see in less light.

Bumpons/ plastic blisters may be help in identifying whether appliances are turned off. Remote control devices are available to help here. I have just written a post on these which I will link to as soon as the post goes live.

Fire service advice that I think is good is to get an electrician to check all electrical appliances for wear and tear once a year to ensure safety.

If you notice any electrical appliance that starts to smell of burning or hot, turn them off immediately and do not use until checked by an electrician. Anyone with sight loss may like to think about clearly marking an escape route with some form of tactile marker which can be felt such as the bumpons again.

Fire safety for people with mobility difficulties.

Many people find it difficult to test a smoke alarm and the last thing we want is elderly people climbing on chairs to do so. There are many affordable easy fit fire alarms that are easy to fit on the wall. If someone has real problems an two way baby alarm may be worth considering so people can communicate from room to room in an emergency.

If someone has difficulty walking without a stick it is essential that it is to hand for them at all times. Stair lifts and wheelchairs also need to be maintained to ensure a swift exit if possible. It is always a good idea to have a phone next to the bed also incase of a fire at night.

Oxygen users.

Anyone using oxygen such as someone with COPD needs to be especially careful not to use it near gas and electric cookers or other heat sources including hairdryers. If someone does use oxygen it is essential to tell the emergency services in the event of a fire.

Electric Blankets.

Ensure they are not folded as this damages the internal wiring, they need to be stored flat or rolled. Never allow someone to use one if it is wet and never allow the use of a hot water bottle at the same time as an electric blanket. Water and electric, as we know, do not mix. Check the blanket regularly for signs of wear and have it checked every 3 years by an electrician.

Plan an escape route.

Nothing better than being prepared. Help someone elderly or disabled to plan escape routes and ensure they are kept clear at all times. Ensure any mobility aids are also readily to hand and that the door keys are easily accessed but not kept by the door.

If someone has a key safe it is always a good idea to let emergency services know the key code, it saves them bashing the door down !

If there is a Fire.

If you care for someone elderly please remind them that in the case of a fire to get out and get the Fire Brigade out!   

Caron

Award-winning blogger and care columnist for Devon Life magazine, Caron also campaigns for recognition of the needs elderly people and their carers. Designer and creator of the award-winning Dementia Assistance Cards which are free to all, and helping thousands of people globally Caron is passionate and committed to making a difference

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