People over the age of 65 face the greatest risk of dying in a fire, more than 2½ times that of the general population. Hospital stays of more than 40 days are common for older adult burn victims.

With that being said, let’s try to remember some basic fire safety tips.

People can become victims by falling asleep while smoking – either in bed or in a favorite chair – especially after consuming alcohol or taking medications. Ashtrays that are emptied before smoldering materials are completely extinguished, also start several fires in the home of smokers.

Cooking is a major cause of fire injuries among older adults, often caused by a hot burner igniting loose fitting clothing, pot holders or dish towels. Other injuries occur as older adults stumble against the stove.

Be safe around medical oxygen. Increased oxygen may pose a higher risk of both fires and burns, because it is easier for a fire to start and spread.

Fire prevention is still the best method of fire safety. Some older adults may have difficulties moving quickly, and suffer more than others when injuries and smoke inhalation occur. It is essential to prevent fires from happening at all.

Smoke detectors make the difference. The chance of surviving a home fire almost doubles with the initial warning from a smoke detector. Detectors provide early warning of fires, allowing time for individuals to escape and firefighters to arrive before the fire grows out of control.

Smoke detectors can be purchased at your local hardware store, for as little as $10. They also make a thoughtful gift for your loved ones.

If fire occurs, do not waste time trying to save property. Take the safest exit as quickly as possible. If you must escape through the smoke, remember to stay low and go!

Have a prearranged place to meet outside once you have escaped the house. Call 911 from a neighbor’s house.

Never go back into a burning building for any reason. If you believe someone did not make it outside, tell the firefighters a soon as they arrive. DO NOT attempt to go inside and look for them!

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Athens Fire Department at 740-592-3301.

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