Adults 65 and older face a higher risk of fire-related death or injury. Seniors must take special precautions to ensure they can get to safety if a fire occurs.
Plan and practise your escape
Every household should practise a fire escape plan at least twice a year. Your plan should have:
- 2 ways out of every room
- make sure windows and doors open easily and that you have a safe way to the ground from a second floor or higher
- a safe meeting place outside your home
- once out of your home, stay out and do not go back in until you are told to do so by an authorized person
Know your local emergency number
- It may be 911 or the fire department’s phone number.
- Have a telephone or cellphone in your bedroom and post the local emergency number nearby in case you are trapped by smoke or fire.
- Once you’ve escaped a fire, call the fire department from a neighbour’s phone or a cellular phone.
Smoke alarms save lives
- Have working smoke alarms installed outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
- Have someone test your smoke alarms once a month by pushing the test button.
- Make sure everyone in your home can hear your smoke alarms, especially family members with reduced hearing.
- For those with reduced hearing, consider installing a smoke alarm that uses vibrations or lights as an alert.
- Change out your smoke alarm as per manufactures recommendations, which is every 10 years.
Stop, drop, and roll
- If your clothes catch on fire:
- stop (don’t run)
- drop gently to the ground
- cover your face with your hands
- roll around to put out the fire
- If you cannot do that, smother the flames with a towel or blanket.
- If you suffer burns, apply cool water for 3 to 5 minutes on the injury.
- Seek medical help as soon as possible.
If you smoke, smoke outside
- Use large, deep ashtrays.
- Never extinguish smoking materials in plant pots.
- Make sure cigarette butts and matches in ashtrays are wet, or buried in sand, before throwing them out.
- Never smoke in bed.
Medical oxygen safety
- Never smoke in a home where medical oxygen is used.
- Post “No Smoking” and “No Open Flames” signs inside and outside the home.
- Keep oxygen cylinders at least 1.5 metres from heat sources, open flames or electrical devices.
- Keep oil, grease, body oil and lotion away from where oxygen is in use.
- Medical oxygen fire safety tips
- Wear fitted tops or short sleeves when cooking.
- Use oven mitts to handle hot pans.
- Never leave what you’re cooking unattended.
- If a pan of food catches fire, slide a lid over it and turn off the burner.
- Don’t cook if you are drowsy.
Space heater use
- Keep space heaters in a well-ventilated space.
- Ensure they are at least 1 metre away from flammable materials.
- Turn off and unplug heaters when you leave your home or when you go to bed.
- Only use space heaters that have an automatic shut-off switch for tip-overs.
Download our poster and graphics to share online and in your community to keep your loved ones safe.
- Fire safety for seniors – Marketing images (ZIP, 15 MB)