Links to articles:
Older Adults and Preparedness for Fire
People with Disabilities and Their Caregivers
Removing the Barriers (PDF, 461 Kb)
Fire safety outreach materials for older adults
Older adults have an increased risk of dying in a fire. Help prevent older adult fire deaths in your community with these safety tips, social media messages, public service announcements and handouts developed by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and other organizations.
These free materials are yours to use when educating older adults (ages 65 and over) and their caregivers about the importance of home fire safety.
Statistics to share
Older adults face the greatest relative risk of dying in a fire. In 2015, older adults:
- Represented 15 percent of the United States population but suffered 40 percent of all fire deaths.
- Had a 2.7 times greater risk of dying in a fire than the total population.
- Ages 85 and over were 3.8 times more likely to die in a fire than the total population.
Remembering When: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults, was developed by NFPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help older adults live safely at home for as long as possible. The program is built around 16 key safety messages – eight fire prevention and eight fall prevention.
To increase fire safety for older adults, NFPA offers the following guidelines:
- Keep it low
If you don't live in an apartment building, consider sleeping in a room on the ground floor in order to make emergency escape easier. Make sure that smoke alarms are installed in every sleeping room and outside any sleeping areas. Have a telephone installed where you sleep in case of emergency. When looking for an apartment or high-rise home, look for one with an automatic sprinkler system. Sprinklers can extinguish a home fire in less time that it takes for the fire department to arrive.
- Sound the alarm
The majority of fatal fires occur when people are sleeping, and because smoke can put you into a deeper sleep rather than waking you, it´s important to have a mechanical early warning of a fire to ensure that you wake up. If anyone in your household is deaf or if your own hearing is diminished, consider installing a smoke alarm that uses a flashing light or vibration to alert you to a fire emergency. View a list of product manufacturers.
- Do the drill
Conduct your own, or participate in, regular fire drills to make sure you know what to do in the event of a home fire. If you or someone you live with cannot escape alone, designate a member of the household to assist, and decide on backups in case the designee isn't home. Fire drills are also a good opportunity to make sure that everyone is able to hear and respond to smoke alarms.
- Open up
Make sure that you are able to open all doors and windows in your home. Locks and pins should open easily from inside. (Some apartment and high-rise buildings have windows designed not to open.) If you have security bars on doors or windows, they should have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened easily. These devices won't compromise your safety, but they will enable you to open the window from inside in the event of a fire. Check to be sure that windows haven't been sealed shut with paint or nailed shut; if they have, arrange for someone to break the seals all around your home or remove the nails.
- Stay connected
Keep a telephone nearby, along with emergency phone numbers so that you can communicate with emergency personnel if you're trapped in your room by fire or smoke.
Remembering When: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults Color Printout
Request a high-quality color printout of NFPA's updated Remembering When™program.
At Our Age with Tom Bosley Video
Older adults face elevated risks for fire and fall hazards. Teach seniors practical tips for staying safe with the At Our Age with Tom Bosley Video. Order now.