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Fire safety for seniors

Teaching seniors about fire and life safety can save lives. We offer materials about safety risks specific to seniors including smoking, cooking, use of home oxygen, and staying safe at home.

Seniors are more likely to die in fires than those of other ages. DFS offers materials about keeping seniors safe at home and about safety risks specific to seniors including smoking, cooking, electrical fires, and planning for emergencies.


Follow these safe practices to prevent smoking fires:

  • Smoke outdoors
  • Use large and sturdy ashtrays or a can filled with sand to put out cigarettes
  • Be sure that matches and cigarettes are fully extinguished when throwing them away
  • Never extinguish cigarettes in potted plants or mulch
  • If you're drowsy or falling asleep, put out your cigarette
  • Never smoke while using oxygen or near an oxygen source

Learn more about using home oxygen safely.

Electrical fires

Follow these safe practices to prevent electrical fires:

  • Don't overload outlets or power strips
  • Repair or discard anything with a frayed wire
  • Use one appliance per outlet, especially if it's a heat generating appliance 
  • Don't run electrical cords under rugs or let them get pinched by furniture
  • Extension cords are for temporary use only and are not designed for long-term use
  • Space heaters need at least 3 feet of space from anything that can burn
  • Have a licensed electrician inspect your electrical system every 10 years

Learn more about electrical fire safety.


Follow these tips to stay safe while cooking:

  • Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves while cooking as loose sleeves easily catch fire
  • Stand by your cooking and never leave it unattended
  • Put a lid on the stovetop to put a fire out

Learn more about cooking fire safety

Planning for emergencies

  • Have a plan to get out of the house in 3 minutes or less
  • Keep eyeglasses, canes, walkers, and hearing instruments next to the bed or wherever you sleep at night
  • Make sure that all pathways are clear of clutter
  • Install night lights throughout the house to prevent falls
  • Make sure that house numbers are clearly visible from the street so emergency responder can find your house 
  • Get a File of Life form from your senior center or fire department. Fill it out and keep it on your refrigerator. The File records your medications. Emergency responders know to look for this record when they come to assist you.

Additional Resources for Planning for emergencies


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