Indiana winters can be notably harsh for those aged 65+, as they endure bone-chilling subzero windchills and crippling snowstorms. Sadly, colder winter weather also increases the likelihood of seniors experiencing a heating-related home fire. When aging loved ones have dementia or use medical oxygen, lying awake at night worrying about them getting injured in a home fire is a distinct possibility. Keep older loved ones safe and warm all winter long – and restore your peace of mind – by using these home heating safety tips.
Home Heating Fire Facts
Here are some sobering home heating fire statistics compiled by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):
- Heating is the second leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, and the third leading cause of home fire fatalities.
- As of 2018, these fires resulted in annual losses of 500 deaths, 1,350 injuries, and over $1.1 billion in direct property damage.
- Most home heating fire deaths (81%) involve stationary or portable space heaters.
- Nearly half (48%) of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February.
- The primary factor contributing to home heating fires is a failure to clean solid-fueled heating equipment such as chimneys.
- Half of all home heating fire deaths are caused by having heating equipment too close to things that can burn, including clothing, mattresses, bedding, or upholstered furniture.
Fire-Prevention Tips for Older Adults
Thankfully, with a few simple safety tips and precautions, it is possible to prevent most heating fires from occurring. Here’s how to safely keep your senior warm and cozy this winter:
- Use products only for their intended purpose. For instance, cooking stoves should not be used to heat the home while space heaters are not for drying wet clothes.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment. If space heaters are in use, remind your loved one to turn them off when leaving the room.
- Be sure the home’s heating system is inspected by a qualified service professional at least annually.
- Ensure that all fuel-burning heating equipment is vented to the outside.
- Keep intake and output vents clean of debris and dust.
- Install and maintain multiple clouds of smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms around the home. Replace the batteries twice a year.
- Encourage your senior to never smoke in bed or leave candles burning in an unoccupied room even briefly.
- Purchase space heaters certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL, CSA, or ETL.
- Plug space heaters directly into an outlet and never into an extension cord.
- Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces and never on tables, cabinets, or other furniture.
- Never use a space heater unattended.
- Inspect space heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use.
- Do not use a space heater in damp areas unless it is specifically designed for use in wet spaces such as a bathroom.
- Keep space heaters out of high-traffic areas and doorways where they could pose a tripping hazard.
Wood Stoves and Fireplaces
- Never leave an open flame unattended, such as a fire in a fireplace.
- Be sure your loved one’s chimney or wood stove is inspected annually by a certified chimney specialist.
- Encourage them to use a sturdy fireplace screen to prevent sparks and smoldering ashes from flying into the room.
An Extended Family in Your Loved One’s Home
Keeping aging loved ones safe and comfortable year-round isn’t always easy when you’re busy or live far away. When you need a reliable in-home elder care provider in Indianapolis, IN, look no further than Senior1Care. As your family-trusted home care source, our dedicated, compassionate professionals deliver exceptional care to individuals seeking dependable ways to maintain their independent lifestyles.
While proudly serving clients and their families since 2006, our unique scope of services ranges from personal care and household services to dementia care, family consultation, and geriatric care counseling. We are a local, family-owned, and operated home care company with services that can be uniquely tailored to meet each client’s needs. To learn more about Senior1Care now or schedule an assessment for a senior in Indianapolis, IN, today, please visit us at www.senior1care.com.