Fire, burn, and scald injuries can harm all Americans, regardless of age – but statistics show that elderly people are more likely to die in a fire than their younger family members. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), in 2010, adults age 65 and older made up 35 percent of all deaths in fires, even though they represent only 13 percent of the population as a whole.
This holiday season, give your elderly loved ones the gift of greater safety and peace of mind by helping them reduce their risk of fire and burn injuries. Here’s how:
- Check their smoke detectors. Elderly people often have difficulty reaching smoke detectors or remembering when it’s time to change the batteries. Help them out by replacing all the batteries twice a year and testing smoke detectors. Add smoke detectors to bedrooms and hallways if needed.
- Examine kitchen appliances. Automatic “off” settings on coffeemakers, toaster ovens, space heaters and similar appliances can help reduce the risk of a fire, even if the user forgets the appliance was left on. Examine kitchen appliances for frayed cords and exposed heating elements, and replace them if needed.
- Make a plan. Post emergency numbers in large print right next to the phone, so family members know who to call in an emergency. Have a “meeting place” outside the house for family members to go to in case of a fire, and make sure there are no steps or other barriers between the house and the meeting place, so that elderly family members can reach it easily.
- Smoke safely. Many older Americans smoke, but cigarettes and pipes are the number-one cause of fires. Help elderly loved ones create a place to smoke outside, and provide deep, sturdy ashtrays that cannot easily be knocked over.
The experienced New York burn injury lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP can help you if you’ve been injured in a fire. Contact us today to learn more.