5274 Scotts Valley Dr., #102 Scotts Valley, CA 95066 831-430-0616 www.VisitingAngels.com/CentralCoast 229 Reindollar Ave., Suite E Marina, CA 93933 831-392-0876
Up in Smoke Fire Safety and Seniors
Some time ago, one of our Visiting Angels caregivers walked into their client’s home and found the living room and kitchen filled with smoke! A pot of soup had been left on the stove and had started to burn. Fortunately, the pot hadn’t yet caught fire, and the situation was dealt with quickly, but it could have been much worse. The client, having forgotten about the soup on the stove, was completely unaware of the danger they were in before their caregiver arrived. National Fire Prevention Week is October 7–13, which marks the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Over 300 people died in the fire, which burned for three days and consumed around 3 square miles of the city. Today, city planners tend to be more fire-conscious than those who built 19th-century Chicago, but National Fire Prevention Week is a good time for everyone to think about how they can be smarter when it comes to fire prevention. Caregivers and family members of seniors especially should take this time to get serious about fire safety. The National Fire Protection Association reports that seniors aged 65 and older are twice as likely to be killed or injured by a fire compared to the rest of the population. For this reason, when Visiting Angels conducts an initial assessment of our clients’ homes, we keep an eye out for anything that could be a fire hazard. Are there stacks of mail or greasy towels by the stove? Do the smoke alarms have fresh batteries? Are there smoke alarms in the hallways and bedrooms? Does the client have a habit of leaving the stove or oven on? If a client is hard of hearing, are there lights attached to the fire alarms that
will wake them up in case of an emergency? And if there is an emergency, would the client be able to get out of their home safely? With the holidays coming up and many seniors looking forward to displaying electric holiday decorations or Christmas trees, now is the time to make fire safety a priority. Far too many holidays end in disaster because faulty wiring or dry Christmas trees led to tragic house fires. Fortunately, the key to fire prevention is a little awareness. Our Visiting Angels caregivers know how important it is to have someone checking in on a client regularly and keeping an eye out for fire hazards. And when family members get involved and talk to their loved one about fire safety, it can really help save a senior’s life.
Cindy Saunders, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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