Fire Safety for Older Adults

SeniorsFirst, we’d like to say THANK YOU for taking an interest in Fire Safety!

Older adults are significantly more at risk than other members of the U.S. population to be victims of house fires. 

In 2010, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, older adults (ages 65 and older) represented 13 percent of the United States population but suffered 35 percent of all fire deaths. In Kansas, of the 223 total fire-related deaths, 42 victims were over the age of 65 – representing 19 percent of the total fire deaths.

The U.S.F.A. research also shows that older adults are 2.7 times more likely to die in a fire than the general population. The risk worsens as we age, with people ages 85 and older 4.6 times more likely to die in a fire.

The Kansas Fire Marshal and Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services offer these tips to keep seniors safe from the dangers of fire:

  • When space heaters are on, keep them at least three feet away from anything that can burn, such as curtains or furniture.
  • If you’re exiting the room, or if you’re going to bed, make sure that your turn off and unplug the space heater.
  • Have smoke detectors installed outside each sleeping area and replace the battery two times a year—every time that you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time.
  • Never wear loose clothes or clothes with long sleeves when cooking. Remember to use oven mitts when handling hot pans. And NEVER leave the kitchen while you’re cooking.
  • Check the kitchen after you finish cooking to make sure the oven burners and other appliances are turned off.
  • Walk through your home and identify any possible exits in case of a fire. Make a fire escape plan.
  • If there's fire or smoke. Get out and stay out.


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