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Commissioner's seniors fire safety message

Published: 28th March 2006

Knowledge of fire safety is important for us all. But if you’re an older person it is even more so because statistics show that people over the age of 65 are three times more likely to die in home fires than other members of the community.

Thankfully, there are many things you can do to protect yourself from fire danger in the home. A working smoke alarm can give you an early warning of a fire. Minutes and seconds are precious if you are trying to escape a fire. There are also smoke alarms designed for people with hearing impairment.

It’s important to remember that when you suffer from reduced mobility, it may take longer to leave the house if there is a fire. While a smoke alarm gives you a warning to leave, you also need an escape plan so you know how to escape from each room and where to meet once you are outside. Without an escape plan, you could become disoriented and trapped.

Practise your escape plan with other members of your family or household. Ask your friends or relatives to help you devise a home fire escape plan and to practise it with you.

Here are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of injury to you and any other occupants in your home should a fire occur:

  • Working smoke alarms are essential, and should be the first step in a home fire safety plan. They provide the early warning you need;
  • Create and practise a home escape plan and, where possible, identify two escape points from each room, not just the home, as well a designated meeting place outside;
  • If a fire occurs, follow the escape plan and never go back in;
  • Test battery-operated smoke alarms at least once a month;
  • Make sure deadlocked doors and windows can be opened quickly whenever occupants are in the building.

Contact your local NSWFB fire station for more information on seniors’ fire safety or download our fact sheet.

Greg Mullins AFSM
Commissioner, NSW Fire Brigades