- Smoke detectors provide valuable protection.
Detectors double your chance of surviving fire in your home by
providing early warning and valuable time for escape. Install smoke
detectors and maintain them.
- If you cannot install a detector yourself, ask a
relative, a friend, or a neighbor. They will help you locate the best
spot for the detector and make sure that the detector is installed.
- At a minimum, you should have a detector
immediately outside your sleeping area. The ideal spot is on the
ceiling or high on the wall, out of corners where "dead air" space
might not capture rising smoke and gases. Detectors also should be
placed at the top of open airways (or at the bottom of enclosed
stairways). There should be a detector on every level of your home or
- Do not disable your detectors by removing batteries
or disconnecting wires. Doing so could mean the difference between
life and death.
- If your detector goes off because of cooking fumes
or steam from the bathroom, you may need to move it or may need a
different type of detector.
- Clean the detectors periodically to keep them free
from dust and dirt. Test the batteries. Detectors connected to your
house wiring should be tested regularly, too.
Smoke detector batteries should be changed at least twice a year. Use
your birthday or some other major holiday (begin\end Daylight Savings
Time) as your twice annual "Battery Replacement Day".
If your landlord or building management is responsible for smoke
detectors where you live, call and ask when they last were tested,
cleaned or replaced. If the detectors have not been attended to,
insist that the party responsible act immediately. If they do not
respond, call the Fire Department, your local Agency on Aging, or the
Housing Authority. Smoke detectors are important protection to escape
from a fire. You must have a smoke detector. Don't live without one!
HOME ESCAPE PLAN
- There are three essential items that should be kept by your
bedside: a telephone, whistle, and your eyeglasses. You need your
glasses to see how to escape from fire and avoid injury. The whistle
serves two purposes: It lets people know where you are so that you can
be rescued, and enables you to warn other family members of fire. Your
first priority in fire is to get out of the building. Don't stop to
call the Fire Department until you are safe outside. If you can not
escape by the door, telephoning allows you to call for help while
attempting to escape by your back up route. (E.g. a window, etc.)
- If you use a wheel chair or walker, check all the exit routes in advance
to be sure you can get through the doorways. If not, map out escape
routes that are acceptable, and discuss your escape plans with your
family, the building manager or neighbors.
- If you have impairments that might make it more difficult for you to
escape from fire, consider talking to your Fire Department and letting
them know your special circumstances in advance.
- Plan your escape route. You should have a primary and a back-up
route mapped out for each room. Practice getting out. It may seem
foolish to do so, or unnecessary (of course you know how to find a
front door), but when there is a fire or smoke, your reasoning and
patterns may be affected by the emergency. If you have practiced
escape routes, your memory and instinct will help you move in the
right direction and in the right way. Check all the windows from which
escape is planned. Can you open the window, or is it painted or nailed
shut? Make sure your exits allow you to exit!
- The kitchen is a high danger zone for fire, so be extra cautious
with flame when cooking in the kitchen.
If you must leave the kitchen while you are cooking, turn off the
burner. If you have something in the oven, check it every 15 minutes.
Most kitchen fires occur because food is left unattended on the stove
or in the oven. A "brief" departure from the kitchen to attend to
other matters can easily turn into an extended time away. As a
reminder to you, take a potholder, a cooking spoon, or other kitchen
utensil with you when you leave the room. This object will help you
remember that you have an unfinished task waiting in the kitchen.
- Never cook with loose, dangling sleeves. Robes and other loose
fitting garments can ignite easily. This is a major cause of serious
burns for senior citizens. Don't take chances!
- Regularly inspect your extension cords for fraying, exposed wires
or loose plugs. They are not intended for use as permanent wiring.
Unplug them when not in use.
- If you need to plug in two or three appliances, lamps, etc., do
not use a simple extension cord. It is better to get a UL-approved
unit that has built-in circuit breakers.
- Whether or not you smoke, friends and relatives who visit your
home may. It is important, in either case, to be careful with all
- Don't leave cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended. put out all
smoking materials before you walk away.
- Don't put ashtrays on the arms of sofas or chairs. The ashtray can
be tipped easily, spilling hot ashes or burning cigarettes onto the
carpet or furniture.
- Use large ashtrays with wide lips. While smaller ashtrays may be
more attractive, they are not safe. Cigarettes can roll of the edge,
and ashes can easily be blown around.
- Close a match box before striking, and hold it away from your
body. Set your cigarette lighter on "low" to prevent burns.
- Empty all ashtrays into the toilet or metal container. Warm ashes
dumped in waste cans can smolder for hours, than ignite surrounding
trash. An option is to place the ashtray in the kitchen sink and fill
with water. Let it remain overnight before disposing.
NEVER, EVER smoke in bed. Make it a rule not to allow
any smoking materials in bedrooms. Burning sheets blankets and other
bedclothes create a fire from which escape is impossible. Toxic fumes
from the smoke can kill.
- If you begin to feel drowsy while watching television or reading,
extinguish your cigarette or cigar. Do it before it may be too late.
- If friends or relatives who smoke have visited, be sure to check
on the floor and around chair cushions for ashes that may have been