Overview

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

Cooking safety

  • 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.

Resources

Download our poster and graphics to share online and in your community to keep your loved ones safe.

Additional information