Winter Fire Safety Tips for Older Adults

Has your heater and electric blanket been getting a workout recently? As we get older, we tend to lose body heat more quickly, making it important for older adults to stay warm throughout the colder months. But without proper care and maintenance, our heaters can pose a serious risk to our home and our health! So, here are a few fire safety tips to keep you healthy and safe this winter.

Fireplace Safety

Wood fire heaters are fantastic for keeping our homes warm and toasty, but they can also pose a potential fire risk if not properly maintained. Before lighting your fire, check that your chimney/flue is free from debris and well-ventilated. Also, make sure the body of your fireplace is clean and free from excessive ash build-up. Now that your fireplace is in working order, pop a fire screen in front of the opening to prevent embers and burning wood from escaping.

Heater Safety

If you don’t have a fireplace or ducted heating, chances are you’ve got a radiant or convection heater in your home. These heaters are compact, and great for smaller rooms, but they’re also responsible for the vast majority of heating-related house fires! So, check the cord and body of your heater before use, and discard your heater if it’s damaged. Make sure to position your heater in a place where it won’t be accidentally knocked. And never ever place something within one metre of your heater, especially clothes horses or any other flammable items.

Other Safety

Electric blankets can be great for keeping us cosy, especially in the absence of a heater. But it’s important to inspect your electric blanket before use every time, checking for any tears or frays. If your electric blanket is damaged, it could easily cause a house fire, so it’s better to be safe than sorry! Also, did you know that electric blankets shouldn’t be used overnight? They can be used to warm your bed before you sleep, but should be switched off before you nod off for the night. Finally, never fold your electric blanket for storage; roll it instead. Folding can damage the wires within your blanket, whereas rolling will keep them nice and safe.

Prefer hot water bottles and wheat bags? Make sure to follow the heating instructions. For wheat bags, never heat them for longer than the recommended time, as they can dry out and catch fire in your microwave—yikes! And as for hot water bottles, they might not catch fire—but filling your bottle with boiling water could increase your risk of burns. So, opt for warm (not boiling) water instead.

Could you use some help around your home? Here at Simply Helping, we offer a range of in home care services for older adults and people with disability. Click here to learn more and contact us today.

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