• Aging Well Denver

Keep Your Family Safe - Make Your Fire Safety Plan Today

Fire Safety is something that most of us don’t think about on a regular basis, especially past the old stop, drop, and roll. The problem is that here in Denver we are close to so many areas that have a fairly high risk of fire this time of year. Keeping your family safe in a fire is not a guarantee and not something that any of us want to think about, but there are steps you can take to increase your chances on getting yourself, and your family out in case it happens to you.

• Gather your family and work out a plan together. It may not be the most fun topic for a family meeting but it is necessary. Draw or look at a map of your house and make sure everyone knows what the easiest exits are from each room on each floor of the home.

• Choose a meeting place outside of your home that everyone agrees to get to in case of a fire. Make sure it is close by but out of the way of danger. An example would be the stop sign on the corner of your block or the head of your neighbor's driveway.

• Make sure that your house numbers are visible from the street. If you have a mailbox, consider putting them on the outside of it or on the post.

• Make sure that all of the windows and doors are easily opened. Windows in older homes can be tricky to open or even stuck. If a window exit is not easily opened, you can purchase a small multitool that is meant to break glass or cut a seatbelt in case of an emergency. (bonus tip: Keep one in your car glove box as well in case of any water or car fire emergencies.)

• If the exit that is easiest is a window, you can purchase emergency ladders and store them near the window and where they are easily accessible. Make sure you have opened them before and that they are ready to use. You don’t want to be worried about zip ties or tricky packaging during an evacuation.

• Register your home and the members of your household with the fire department. You can have your information stored with them so that in case of an emergency they know that you have seniors or children in your home. You can also purchase stickers to place in the windows of your home that would be visible to EMS that can say the number of pets or people in your home.

• Make sure your fire extinguishers are working and keep one in the kitchen, one in the garage and one in any rooms with people who may take longer or have trouble escaping. Make sure they are pressurized and working properly. You can take them to a local fire station and have them evaluated.

People over the age of 65 are twice as likely to be killed or injured in case of a fire in the home according to the National Fire Protection Association. Make sure that you have a plan of action with the older people in your life. Consider moving any seniors in your home to a main floor bedroom. The closer they are to an easy exit the better. Make sure that all of your smoke alarms work and test them often. Sound the alarm so that the other people in the space are clear on what it sounds like. Seniors or children that have never heard your fire alarm may not know what the sound is and some seniors with hearing issues may not notice it at all.

While all of these combined can make you feel much more confident in your escape plan, the best thing you can do to prepare your family is to practice. Run a fire drill once every six months and keep pathways and hallways clear.

Do you discuss fire safety with your family? If so, let us know of any other tips you have in the forum! We would love to hear from you.