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OFM Pub Ed – Senior Fire Safety

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Older adults are the fastest growing segment of the population and one of the groups at highest risk for fire death and injury.  At age 65, people are twice as likely to be killed or injured.  By age 75, people are four times as likely to die in a fire.  There are steps that older adults can take to remain safe.


  • Cooking is the leading cause of fire injuries to people over 65.
  • Stand by your cooking and never leave it unattended.  If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so the pots will not be knocked off.
  • Clean your oven and stove top after each use to avoid grease buildup.
  • Keep anything that can burn away from the stove top.
  • Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves while cooking as loose sleeves easily catch fire.
  • Never use the oven to heat your home.
  • Don’t cook if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol, or have taken medications that make you drowsy.
  • Use a timer to regularly remind you that you’re cooking.  Check the kitchen after you finish cooking to make sure the oven burners and other appliances are turned off.


  • Keep everything at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, space heater, fireplace, or wood stove.
  • Unplug electrical appliances and heaters when not in use.
  • Never hang clothes near a heater to dry them.
  • Don’t leave portable heaters on in an empty room or go to sleep while they are on.
  • Make sure curtains hang well way from heat sources.


  • Never smoke in bed or while lying on the couch.
  • Use a large, sturdy ashtray.
  • Make sure cigarette butts and ashes are completely cool before throwing them out.  Put them in water or a can that is filled with sand.
  • Never smoke where medical oxygen is used, even if it is turned off.


  • Check to make sure your house number is easy to see from the street so emergency personnel will be able to find you quickly.
  • Have a smoke alarm on every level of your home.
  • Check smoke alarms monthly.
  • Change the batteries in your smoke alarms at least once a year.
  • If you are unable to afford a smoke alarm or need assistance with maintenance, Renton Regional Fire Authority may be able to assist you.
  • If a fire starts, stay calm and get out. Once out, call 9-1-1 or the fire department from a cell phone or neighbor’s phone.

Renton Regional Fire Authority
Public Education Desk