Smokey Bear is 73 and he still practices fire safety!
Smokey Bear is turning 73 on August 9th and wants to make sure that your golden years shine bright. Older adults (age 65 and older) are twice as likely to die in fires as any other age group. The death rate for those 85 and older is four times the national average. Older people are also at higher risk of injury from fires. The following tips can help protect you and those you care about:
• Install and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. If you are in need of a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector, please call Seekonk Human Services at 508-336-8772.
• Use and dispose of smoking materials safety. Careless smoking accounts for nearly 1/3 of the fire deaths in adults over age 70. Never smoke in bed. Use a large, deep ashtray for smoking debris and let them completely cool before disposing of them in the trash. Warm ashes dumped in wastebaskets can smolder for house then ignite surrounding trash. At the end of the day, put the ashtray in the sink, fill it with water and let it sit overnight before you dispose of the contents.
• Smoking and Home Oxygen is a dangerous combination. Home oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen in the environment. Oxygen increases the speed at which things burn once a fire starts. Oxygen can saturate clothing, fabric, hair, beards and anything in the area. Even flame-retardant clothing can burn when the oxygen content increases. Keep all flames and heat sources away from oxygen containers and oxygen systems. NEVER smoke or light a match while using oxygen.
• Pay attention to your cooking. Cooking fires are a leading cause of burn injuries among older people. BE ALERT while cooking. Take a reminder with you (pot holder or wooden spoon) or set a timer if you must leave the kitchen with food cooking on the range top. Never lean over a hot burner and avoid wearing loose clothing that could come in contact with hot burners or flames. Use pot holders and/or oven mitts.
• Heat your home safely. Hundreds of fires start each year when things that burn, such as curtains, clothing, bedding, gasoline or paint solvents are placed too close to heaters, furnaces, wood stoves, fireplaces or water heaters. Have all heating equipment serviced annually. NEVER use a stove or oven to heat your home. Have at least three feet of clearance in all directions around portable space heaters.
• Practice electrical safety. Homes more than 40 years old are 3 times more likely to catch fire from electrical causes than homes 11 to 20 years old because older wiring may not have the capacity to safely handle new appliances and equipment and may not incorporate updated safety features. Never overload the electrical system. Plug each appliance directly into its own outlet and avoid using extension cords whenever possible. Use a surge protector when possible.
• Know what to do in case of a fire. Identify two ways out of your home. Get out as soon as you discover a fire; do not try to fight a fire. Once you are out of the house, STAY OUT; do not attempt to gather possessions left behind. Call 911 immediately.
Sources: United States Fire Administration
Office of the State Fire Marshal