The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has put out a timely warning about fire safety, especially for seniors. The main statistic is grim: We seniors make up about 16% of the population, but account for a whopping 77% of all clothing fires.
Cooking heads the list of dangers, with fires from the stovetop and oven. Closely following are fires from smoking and being outside burning trash and debris. Space heaters are on the list, of course.
The advice from the experts:
• Don’t cook when you’re wearing a bathrobe or anything with long, wide sleeves. Any loose clothing can catch fire if you’re too close.
• If you burn debris and trash outside, stay back from the fire. A better idea, however, is not to do any outdoor burning yourself, especially if you have any health conditions such as heart or lung disease. We’re at a much higher risk from the air pollutants caused by burning.
• Don’t smoke in bed, ever, or when you feel tired.
• Keep an eye on your space heater. It’s far too easy to be too close to a space heater and not notice that your pants or robe are about to catch fire. Don’t run it if you’re feeling sleepy, and read the instructions to be sure it’s far enough away from you at all times.
• If the worst happens and your clothes catch fire, don’t run! Drop to the floor and roll, and keep rolling until the fire is out. Grab a blanket if it’s necessary to put the fire out. Call 911 and put cool water on your burns until help arrives.
• Do you have a fire extinguisher? Did you know that the chemicals inside can expire? They will typically last from five to 15 years, so be sure to check yours.
Remember that during this virus pandemic the EMTs might be delayed getting to you. Stay safe!
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