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Fire Safety Tips

Home Safety

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According to Federal Government statistics, there were more than 35 million Americans age 65 or older in 2000, representing 12.4% of the population.  By 2030, this number is expected to increase to 20% of the population. 

The number of seniors in Avondale is rapidly increasing and the need to incorporate this growing segment of our society in our community education program is essential.   This page is intended to provide home safety and resource information our seniors.  Avondale Fire-Rescue also offers home safety classes for seniors.  Please contact Sue Pistoia at 623-333-6112 for more information.


Fire Safety Tips
Statistics show that Americans over the age of 65 have a fire death rate of nearly twice the national average.  For American over the age of 75, this rate increases to three times the national average.  Below are some tips that may help seniors prevent and escape from fires in the home.
  • Don’t leave the kitchen while cooking.  If you need to leave the kitchen to answer a phone or doorbell, take a kitchen item with you, such as a spoon, to remind yourself that you were cooking.
  • image001Keep towels, curtains, or other flammable items away from the stove, oven, or range.
  • Portable space heaters can be extremely dangerous if not used properly.  The National Fire Protection Agency reported 49,000 heating related equipment fires in 2003, resulting in 301 deaths.  If you need to use a portable space heater, be sure it is good condition.  Many newer space heaters come with tip-over protection and automatic shut off switches when the unit overheats.  Keep at least 3 feet between portable heaters and anything that can burn including paper, furniture, blankets, clothes, and pets.
  • Avoid smoking indoors.  Use deep ashtrays if you intend to smoke.  Never smoke in bed or when you are drowsy.
  • Use candles with caution.  Always place candles in non-tip candle holders before you light them and keep them away from combustible materials.  Extinguish candles before you leave the house or go to bed.  Never leave candles unattended.
  • Make an escape plan. It is a good idea to keep a pair of slippers, eyeglasses and a flashlight by your bed at night. If you hear your smoke alarm at night you will be prepared to get out of your home quickly. Once you hear the sound of your smoke alarm every second counts for your escape. Make a plan that includes two safe ways out of every room to help you get out and away from the fire. Remember that a fire grows very quickly. There is no time to gather belongings and pets are usually able to get out on their own.
  • Make sure you have working smoke detectors in your home.  Test them once a month and replace the batteries once a year.  If you don’t have any smoke detectors in your home, you can call Avondale Fire-Rescue at 623-333-6112 and we will try to provide some for you at no charge.  For more information on smoke detectors, please see the Safety Tip page.

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Home Safety
  • Keep emergency numbers posted on or near every telephone.  Keep phones accessible to you if you should fall.
  • If you have a physical disability, consider a personal medical alarm.  These alarms can come with transmitters worn on your body, such as around the neck.  With the press of a button, the alarm company contacts 911 and notifies the police and fire departments of the potential emergency.
  • Keep lamp, extension, and phone cords out of traffic flow.  Do not run these cords under furniture, carpets, or rugs.  Replace these wires if they are cracked, frayed or damaged in any way.
  • Be sure rugs, runners, or mats are slip resistant.
  • Be sure that passageways, hallways, and exits are well lit and kept clear.
  • In the kitchen, be sure extension or appliance cords are not near the sink or range.  Try to have good, even lighting in the stove, sink, and counter top work areas.
  • Have a good, sturdy step stool available in the kitchen.
  • Place non-slip mats, abrasive strips or surfaces in bathtubs and showers.
  • Be sure bathtubs and showers have at least one grab bar.  Consider installing a chair in the shower.
  • There should be a light switch near the entrance to the bathroom.  Use nightlights to add extra illumination after bedtime.
  • Small electrical appliances such as hair dryers, curlers, and shavers should be unplugged when not in use.
  • Keep lamp and light switches within reach of the bed.
  • Do not smoke in the bed.  Keep ashtrays smoking material and other fire sources away from the bed.
  • Keep a telephone close to the bed.

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Medications
image002Each year, the elderly suffer more than 9 million adverse drug reactions. Over 243,000 people aged 60 or older wind up in the hospital every year because of detrimental reactions to prescription and over-the-counter drugs. It is estimated that 32,000 people break their hips every year because of drug-induced falls. And 163,000 people's memory loss is caused or made worse by sleeping pills, tranquilizers, blood pressure medications, or anti-psychotic drugs.  Here are some helpful tips to remember when taking medicines:
  • Tell your primary health professional about all the medications you take including those you bought without a prescription (over-the-counter) and those prescribed by other doctors.
  • Make sure you know the name of each medicine, why you are taking it, and how often. If you are unsure what it is for ask for clarification so you fully understand. Specifically ask if you still need to be taking all of the medications or a smaller dose.
  • Mention your eating habits and when you take medications. Ask your doctor if there are any side effects from the drugs and what you should be doing about them.
  • Be sure your health professional understands your medical history and if you are being treated by any other doctors and for what conditions.
  • Make sure you get clear, concise instructions that you understand. Be insistent on getting the information. Ask your doctor to write out a complete medication schedule, with instructions on exactly when and how to take your medications.

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Links For Seniors

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