Teaching Your Elderly Loved One About Fire Safety

Teaching your elderly loved one about fire safety can help save their lives. Seniors, more than any other age group, are likely to die in fires. As we age, the fire and injury risks that we face change; it is thus important to look at fire safety tips specific to seniors. Here, we take a look at fire risks and how to circumvent or prevent them, so that you can teach your loved one about fire safety.


For those over the age of 65, cooking is the leading cause of fires. These tips can help your loved one to stay safe while cooking:

  • Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves while cooking. Loose sleeves are prone to catching fire.
  • Never leave cooking unattended – always be close by so that you can see if things are getting out of hand
  • Place a lid on the stovetop to help put a fire out
  • If your clothing does catch on fire, do the following – lower yourself onto the ground, cover your eyes and roll. This will help put out the flames.
  • A dishtowel, coat or bathrobe can be used to help put out flames on your own body or that of others.

Electrical Fires

If your loved one lives alone, they may face the risk of electrical fires. These safe practices can help prevent that:

  • Avoid overloading power strips and outlets
  • Anything with a frayed wire should be discarded immediately
  • Use only one appliance per outlet, particularly if it is for a heat-generating appliance
  • Don’t run electrical cords beneath rugs or allow them to get pinched by furniture
  • Extension cords are not designed for long-term use and should only be used in temporary situations
  • Space heaters should be placed at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn
  • A licensed electrician should inspect electrical systems every 10 years


These practices can help prevent fires caused by smoking:

  • Only smoke outdoors
  • Put out cigarettes in large and sturdy ashtrays or cans filled with sand
  • Ensure that matches and cigarettes are fully extinguished when throwing them away
  • Do not extinguish your cigarettes in mulch or potted plants
  • Put out your cigarette if feel yourself getting drowsy
  • Refrain from smoking while using oxygen or while near an oxygen source

Have a Plan for Emergencies

  • Create a fire safety plan with your loved one to help them get out of the house in 3 minutes or less
  • Keep glasses, walkers, canes and hearing aids next to the bed so that they can be easily accessed
  • Make sure that all pathways are clear of clutter
  • Install night lights throughout the house to ensure good visibility and prevent falls
  • Make sure that house numbers can be clearly seen from the street so that emergency responders can find your house easily

In certain cases, your loved one may find it difficult to keep up with all of these tips. They may have trouble keeping their home free from clutter, cooking independently or remembering to put out their cigarettes. If you find that your loved one is having difficulty with daily tasks, it may be time to explore living in a retirement community, where assistance is provided. We offer your loved one excellent Personal Care and SHINE® Memory Care. Contact us today to find out more.

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