Skip To Content

August is Fire Safety for Seniors

We know that adults over age 65 are at the highest risk of being killed or injured in a fire. That's why this month, the Office of the Fire Commissioner is focused on fire safety for seniors. Here are some important fire safety tips for seniors and Albertans of all ages.

   1. If you smoke, smoke outside.

  • Provide smokers with large, deep ashtrays. Stub it Right, Don’t Ignite
  • If you smoke on your balcony, be sure to install a safe, fire-proof ashtray.
  • Never extinguish smoking materials in plant pots. 
  • Wet cigarette butts and ashes before throwing them out or bury them in sand.
  • Never smoke in bed.

   2. If you use medical oxygen, don't smoke.

  • Never smoke in a home where medical oxygen is used.
  • Post “No Smoking” and “No Open Flames” signs inside and outside the home.
  • Keep oxygen cylinders at least 5 feet (1.5 meters) from a heat source, open flames, or electrical devices.
  • Keep oil and grease, body oil and hand lotion, away from where oxygen is in use.

   3. Be kitchen wise.

  • Wear tight - fitting or short sleeves when cooking.
  • Use oven mitts to handle hot pans.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • If a pan of food catches fire, slide a lid over it and turn off the burner.
  • Don’t cook if you are drowsy from alcohol or medication.

   4. Give space heaters space.

  • Keep them at least three feet (one meter) away from anything that can burn – including you.
  • Shut off and unplug heaters when you leave your home, or go to bed.

   5. Stop, drop, and roll.

  • If your clothes catch on fire: stop (don’t run), drop gently to the ground, cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth to put out the fire.
  • If you cannot do that, smother the flames with a towel or blanket.
  • Use cool water for 3 to 5 minutes to cool the burn. Get medical help right away.

   6. Smoke alarms save lives.

  • Have working smoke alarms installed outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
  • Have someone test your smoke alarms once a month by pushing the test button.
  • Make sure everyone in your home can hear your smoke alarms, especially family members with reduced hearing.

   7. Plan and practice your escape from fire and smoke.

  • If possible know two ways out of every room in your home.
  • Make sure windows and doors open easily.
  • In a fire, get out and stay out.

   8. Know your local emergency number.

  • It may be 9-1-1 or the fire department’s phone number.
  • Have a telephone in your bedroom and post the local emergency number nearby in case you are trapped by smoke or fire.
  • Once you’ve escaped a fire, call the fire department from a neighbour’s phone or a cellular phone.


Based on the information from "Remembering When: A fire and fall prevention program for older adults," A comprehensive program developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Fire safety programs for seniors

The following fire safety programs for seniors are available to fire departments and community groups across the province from Alberta's Office of the Fire Commissioner.


Older and Wiser: A fire safety education program for older adults

Statistics show that adults over age 65 are at the highest risk of being killed or injured in a fire. To address this serious problem, the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council developed Older & Wiser, a fire safety program specifically for older adults. The program is designed to be delivered by municipal fire departments with the assistance of community groups, home support workers, the media, and friends and families of older adults.


Remembering When: A fire and fall prevention program for older adults

People 65 and older are twice as likely to be killed or injured by fires and falls than the population at large. Designed for a multicultural audience, Remembering When is a complete, step-by-step program that teaches life-saving lessons to this high-risk group. It includes lesson plans, brochures, fact sheets, game cards, and more!


Seniors Fire Safety with Jonathan Winters (includes instructor’s guide)

In this award - winning 18 - minute video, comedian Jonathan Winters, a senior himself, focuses on the special fire - safety considerations of older adults. Help people in your community protect themselves with life-saving information on the following: leading causes of home fires basic fire prevention techniques how to react if fire starts importance of testing smoke detectors regularly

  • Date modified: 2016-06-13

Live Alerts