Seniors fire safety factsheet


In 2010, there were 25 fire fatalities in NSW attended by Fire and Rescue NSW. Almost one in three of these people were aged 65 years and over.

The majority of residential fires begin in the kitchen and are often as a result of cooking being left unattended on the stove. Other common causes of fire include mechanical failure and falling asleep whilst smoking.

There are simple steps seniors, and everyone else, should take to improve fire safety in the home.

Are you fire safe?

  • Make sure smoke alarms are installed and working - test them monthly and change batteries annually.
  • If you are unable to maintain your smoke alarms, contact your local fire station. Firefighters can assist elderly residents who live by themselves and need smoke alarms installed and batteries replaced.
  • Have an escape plan in place, practice it and make sure your family/carer knows about it - it’s particularly vital for people with reduced mobility to practice their escape plan. Where possible know two safe ways out of every room in your home.
  • When at home, leave keys in or near deadlocks so that you can quickly escape in an emergency.
  • If you have difficulty hearing, then consider installing special smoke alarms which have a flashing strobe light and vibrating pad that can be placed under a pillow and which activates when the smoke alarm sounds.
  • Don't fight the fire - get out and stay out and dial Triple Zero (000) immediately. Never assume that somebody else has done so.
  • Close internal doors when leaving your home to reduce fire spread.
  • Smoking in bed is dangerous. NEVER smoke in bed.
  • Have an approved electrical safety switch (residual current device) installed.
  • Don't overload power points.
  • Switch off small appliances when not in use.

Smoke alarm assistance

For assistance with the installation of smoke alarms and changing their batteries contact your local fire station.

In an Emergency Call Triple Zero (000)

A collaboration of the Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service, ACT Fire Brigade and ACT Rural Fire Service