Fall is here, and you know what that means! Football season, changing leaves and backyard bonfires with friends and family.
If you’re like me, you’ve already brought out your space heater as the first line of defense against the cooler autumn temps. But while these little devices can help keep you warm and cozy, it’s important to recognize that they can pose a serious fire hazard if left unattended.
This week is National Fire Prevention Week, and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is doing what it can to promote fire safety and prevention, especially among older adults.
Why are Older Adults at Risk?
People over the age of 65 face the greatest risk of dying in a fire because their reaction time is often slower due to decreased mobility, health, sight and/or hearing. On average, annually more than 1,000 Americans age 65 and older die in home fires and 2,000 are injured in fire-related incidents.
Fire Safety and Prevention Starts with You!
The USFA offers the following tips and a downloadable checklist to help prevent fires and promote safe living:
- Install and maintain smoke alarms – Test monthly, and replace the batteries at least once a year.
- Plan your escape – Know of two ways out of every room.
- Don’t isolate yourself – Talk about your exit plan and practice it with friends and family.
- If possible, live and sleep on the ground floor or near and exit
- Don’t smoke in or around the house
- Don’t leave the stove or oven on unattended
- Don’t overload electrical outlets
- Take precautions if you are on medicine that makes you drowsy
For more information, visit http://www.usfa.fema.gov/. Remember, fire safety and prevention saves lives!