Fire Safety for Senior Citizens


Americans over the age of 65 are at the greatest risk of dying in a fire. 75% of the

1300 seniors who perish each year in fires do not have a working smoke detector

in their homes. If you are a senior, remember the following:

·  Have a smoke detector installed in your home; make sure it is checked out at least


·  Have a licensed electrician examine the wiring in your home; also, have the wiring on

your appliances checked out.

·  Keep space heaters away from combustible materials.

·  Never cook in loose-fitting clothing that could catch fire over the stove.

·  Avoid smoking inside the house. If you must smoke, do not smoke in bed, around

upholstered furniture or near anything that might ignite easily.

·  Keep your address and directions to your house next to your phone, in case you have to

call to report an emergency.

·  If fire breaks out, place a cloth or towel over your mouth and nose and crawl low on the

floor to the nearest exit.

·  In case of a fire, get out of the house immediately. Call for emergency assistance and DO


·  Talk to other seniors about starting a fire prevention education group. Invite a fire official

to the


What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless toxic gas produced as a byproduct of

combustion. Any fuel burning appliance, vehicle, tool or device has the potential to produce

dangerous levels of carbon monoxide gas. Examples of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Producing

Devices Common to the Home Environment:

·  Fuel Fired Furnaces (non-electric)

·  Gas Water Heaters

·  Fireplaces and Wood stoves

·  Gas Stoves

·  Gas Dryers

·  Charcoal Grills

·  Lawnmowers, snow blowers and other yard equipment

·  Automobiles

How Can I Tell if There is a Carbon Monoxide Leak in my Home?


·  Headache, nausea, burning eyes, fainting, confusion,


·  Often mistaken for common ailments like the flu

·  Symptoms improve when away from the home for a

period of time

·  Symptoms experienced by more than one member of

the household

·  Continued exposure to higher levels may result in

unconscious, brain damage and death

·  The elderly, children and people with heart or respiratory

conditions may be particularly sensitive to carbon



·  Air feels stale/stuffy

·  Excessive moisture on windows or walls

·  Sharp penetrating odor or smell of gas when furnace or

other fuel burning appliance turns on

·  Burner and pilot light flames are yellow/orange, not blue

·  Pilot light on the furnace or water heater goes out

·  Chalky white powder or soot buildup occurs around

exhaust vent or chimney


Common Causes of Carbon Monoxide Alarms:

Many conditions can cause a carbon monoxide detector to alarm. Most are preventable, and few

are actually life threatening. Proper placement of a detector and educated users will prevent

notification to emergency services unnecessarily. Some common causes of alarms are as


·  Inadequate ventilation of the home

·  Improve the fresh air ventilation system of the home

·  Running gas powered equipment or automobiles in a home or garage

·  Never operate gas-powered equipment in a home or garage –– even if the garage door is

open. The atmosphere of the home is usually at a lower pressure than the outside air, the

gas is actually drawn in to the home.

·  Charcoal grilling in the home or garage

·  Charcoal is a tremendous producer of CO gas. Never grill with charcoal inside the home

or garage

·  Malfunctioning appliances or equipment in the home

·  All fuel-burning appliances require periodic inspection and maintenance. All fuel burning

appliances will produce some CO gas, however regular maintenance can keep this to a


·  Malfunctioning or overly sensitive alarm

·  Make sure the CO alarm is listed by UL standard 2034. (Adopted in 1995)

·  Maintain the detector to the manufacturer’s standards

·  Certain types are somewhat less reliable

What Do I Do If My CO Detector Sounds An Alarm:

·  First and foremost, stay calm. Many situations resulting in an alarm are not life

threatening. To be on the safe side, do the following:

·  Evacuate the residence as quickly as possible.

·  Do not open windows and doors to ventilate the building! Ventilation will make it very

difficult for responders to locate the source of the alarm

·  Go to a neighbor’s home and call 911 if there are sick/injured family members.

·  Does anyone feel ill?

·  Flu like symptoms

·  Nausea

·  Dizziness

·  Wait for the fire department/ambulance to arrive. DO NOT go back inside the building

until it has been checked, and determined safe to occupy.

·  If you must wait in a vehicle due to cold weather, pull the vehicle away from the home or

garage. Vehicles left inside a garage will contribute to the problem.


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