Residents living in Inyo, Mono, and San Bernardino counties interested in a fire prevention program email

Friday, February 10, 2012

CAL FIRE urges elderly citizens to be fire safe

In a matter of seconds, a life time of memories can go up in flames. Sadly, as we grow older, our risk of dying in a home fire increases dramatically. The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit wants to remind people aged 50 plus to please pay special attention to fire safety. According to the United States Fire Administration, “each year approximately 1,100 Americans ages 65 and older die as a result of a home fire.”

CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit Chief Tim McClelland says “if elderly citizens take some simple precautions, they can dramatically reduce their risk of death or injury from fire.”

Smoke Safely: Careless smoking has been shown to be a major cause of fire deaths and injuries for people 65 years and older.
· Never smoke in bed.
· Put your cigarette or cigar out at the first sign of feeling drowsy while watching television or reading.
· Use deep ashtrays and put your cigarettes all the way out.
· Don’t walk away from lit cigarettes and other smoking materials.

Cook Safely: The kitchen can be a very dangerous place if you are not practicing fire safety. The USFA says “cooking is the third leading cause of fire deaths and the leading cause of injury among people ages 65 and older.”
· Never leave cooking unattended. A serious fire can start in just seconds.
· Always wear short or tight fitting sleeves when you cook. Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames.
· Never use the range or oven to heat your home.
· Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house.

Heat Safely: During these cool winter months, there are historically more home fires than any other time of the year. Heating devices like space heaters and wood stoves can make a home comfortable, but they should be used with extra caution according to CAL FIRE and the USFA. Heating is the second leading cause of fire deaths and third leading cause of injury to people 65 years of age and older.

· Keep fire in the fire place by making sure you have a fireplace screen large enough to catch flying sparks and rolling logs.
· Space heaters need space. Keep flammable materials as least three feet away from heaters.
· When purchasing a space heater, look for a control feature that automatically shuts off the power if the heater falls over.

Get Out Alive:
· Smoke Alarms: Install and maintain a smoke alarm on every level of your home, test the batteries every month and change the batteries at least once a year. A good idea is to replace the batteries with the spring and fall time changes.

· Carbon Monoxide Detectors: It’s the law in California that every residential home now have a Carbon Monoxide detector installed. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced from heaters, fireplaces, furnaces and many types of appliances and cooking devices. Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer, each year claiming the lives of an average of 480 people and sending more than 20,000 people to emergency rooms across the nation.”

· Home Fire Escape Plan: Create and most importantly practice a fire escape plan regularly. At a minimum you should practice your escape plan twice a year. Make the time change weekend a fire safety and review weekend. Keep your exits clear of debris.

· Home Fire Sprinklers: If at all possible, install residential sprinklers in your home. Home fire sprinklers are a proven way to protect lives and property against fires at home.

CAL FIRE and your local fire department want you to be fire safe by practicing fire-safe behaviors when smoking, cooking and heating. Maintain your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and prepare and practice a home fire escape plan. For more suggestions on fire safety, you can go to