It's a good idea to test your smoke alarms every six months, and many people do just that every spring and fall. If you checked your smoke detectors on the Fall Equinox, well done! Still, there's more to fire safety than just making sure smoke alarms work. It's important that you also review your fire safety plan, especially if you or a loved one is a senior or vulnerable adult.
SeniorResource.com has a list of fire safety tips for the seniors who are aging in place. Among them:
- If you don't have a smoke detector, install one as soon as possible. If you're unable to install it yourself, for whatever reason, ask a family member, friend, neighbor or landlord for help.
- If you're only going to have one smoke detector -- and really, you should have more than that -- install it outside your bedroom, where it can wake you should a fire start while you're sleeping.
- Don't disable detectors by pulling out batteries or disconnecting wires. It may be annoying if the smoke alarm goes off when you burn the toast, but better that than it not going off in the event of a fire.
- Don't ever smoke in bed. Ever. Under any circumstances.
- Don't leave your stove unattended while cooking. If you or a loved one has trouble with cognition, a product like Stove Stopper can help by automatically shutting off a stove or oven if nobody is around to monitor it.
- Review your escape plan, and practice it. If you have difficulty with mobility or health problems, the plan you made before might not work now.
- If there is a fire, make sure you close your apartment door as you leave. And never, ever use the elevator to escape!
By following these simple steps, you can help reduce your risk of injury or death from fire, for you and for your loved ones.