Even when we’re all grown up and responsible, we should remember that fire safety is essential. We should also ensure we are practising good fire safety every day.
International research shows that, as people get older, they have increased vulnerability to death and injury from fire, possibly due to reduced mobility and lowered immunity.
Serious house fires are caused by the following factors:
1. Faulty electric blankets, and their misuse are the highest single cause of fatal fires for older people. Never wrap an electric blanket around you for warmth – it can damage the wiring and make it unsafe. Check the safety and condition of your electric blanket annually.
2. Smoking is the second most important cause of fatal residential fires. Smoking-related deaths result from fires in clothing, furniture, or bedding.
3. Fires caused by heaters are second equal with smoking as a fire risk. There are serious risks from sparks and burning embers around open fires and wood burners. Using old or unstable heaters may also contribute to falls. Locating small heaters close to furniture or bedding is a risk.
4. Overheated oil or fat left unattended while cooking is a major ignition fire risk. Poor memory and becoming distracted are often the causes of cooking fires.
In a study, nearly two-thirds of properties involved in fatal fires and occupied by older people either had no detectors installed or these were disabled or had no batteries. Install smoke alarms in your home and always have good batteries in them. They save lives and are a very cost-effective warning system.