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Fire safety is a crucial issue for seniors. Older adults face fire risk factors which do not affect the young. Weaker physical and cognitive capabilities make it harder to identify and respond to a fire, and create a higher risk that a fire will start. Age related changes affect the senses and reduce mobility. Being educated about fire safety and being prepared in case of a fire are invaluable to everyone. As a senior you must take special precautions to care for yourself.

If a fire breaks out in your home, you have only a few minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Everyone needs to know how to get outside if there is a fire.

Fire Safety Tips

Prepare an Escape Plan
  • Draw a floor plan of your home. If possible, identify two ways out of every room and two ways out of your home.
  • Make sure windows and doors open easily.
  • Practice your home fire escape plan. Include everyone in planning and practicing home fire drills. People with disabilities can provide input on the best methods for them to escape.
  • People with disabilities should discuss what assistance they may need with everyone in the home (and with neighbours).
  • In an apartment building, know the location of all exits stairwells and arrange for assistance (neighbour/buddy system) in case of emergency.
  • Choose a meeting place for everyone to meet after escaping.
Plan Your Escape Around Your Abilities
  • Have a telephone near your bed in case you are trapped by smoke or fire
  • Place wheelchair, walker, scooter, or cane nearby for easy access
  • Prepare an emergency kit with necessary items such as:
    • medications, glasses, doctors numbers, emergency contacts, insurance information, emergency cash/credit card, flashlight
    • have coat and shoes handy
In An Emergency Call 9-1-1
  • 9-1-1 is a free service
  • Once you have escaped the fire, call 9-1-1 from a safe location
  • If you can not escape, call-9-1-1 and tell them your exact location
    • Seal the openings around the door and vents with wet bedding or towels
Smoke Alarms
  • Have smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside each sleeping areas
  • For added safety, install combination Carbon Monoxide(CO)/Smoke Alarms which alert you to both high CO levels and smoke
  • For the best protection, use interconnected alarms so when one sounds, they all sound
  • Make sure everyone in your home can hear the smoke alarms. Smoke alarms and alert devices, called accessories are available for people who are deaf or for those who are heavy sleepers. Strobe lights or pillow and bed shakers are also available
  • Test the alarms monthly
  • Change the batteries once a year
  • Replace the alarm every 10 years
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside
    • Never use the elevator. Use the stairwell to exit the building


Stop, Drop & Roll
  • If your clothes catch fire, STOP (don't run)
  • DROP gently to the ground, and cover your face with your hands
  • ROLL over and over back and forth to put out the fire
  • Use cool water for 10-15 minutes (at least) to cool the burn
  • Seek medical attention right away if any burns char the skin, blister, look white or become infected
Stay In The Kitchen When Cooking
  • Never leave cooking unattended
  • Always turn pot handles to the back of the stove so they cannot be pulled down or knocked off
  • Wear tight fitting or short sleeves when cooking
  • Use oven mitts to handle hot objects
  • Don't cook if you are drowsy from alcohol or medication
  • Ensure electrical cords can't be accidentally pulled
  • If you have to leave the kitchen, turn the burner off or take a spatula or spoon with you as a reminder you still have something in the kitchen
  • Keep paper towels, dish towels, potholders and other combustibles away from hot surfaces
  • If a pan of food catches fire
    • Slide a pot lid or cookie sheet over it
    • Turn off the burner and let it cool
    • If in doubt call 9-1-1
Give Space Heaters Space
  • Keep them at least 3 feet (1 metre) away from anything that can burn including you
  • Shut off heaters when you leave or go to bed
  • Only use space heaters that have a protective screen covering the elements
  • Don't dry wet items such as shoes, towels or clothing on space heaters
If You Smoke, Smoke Outside
  • Provide smokers with large, deep sturdy ashtrays
  • Wet cigarette butts and ashes before throwing them or bury them in sand
  • Never smoke in bed
  • Never smoke if oxygen is used in the home

Medical Oxygen Safety

  • There is no safe way to smoke in the home when oxygen is in use. No one should smoke in a home where a patient is using oxygen.
  • Candles, matches, woodstoves and even sparking toys can be ignition sources and should not be used in a home where medical oxygen is in use.
  • Keep oxygen cylinders at least 5 feet (1.5 metres) from a heat source, open flame or electrical appliance (space heater).
  • Body oil, hand lotion and items containing oil and grease can easily ignite. Keep oil and grease away where oxygen is in use.
  • Never use aerosol sprays containing combustible materials near oxygen.
  • Post "No Smoking" and "No Open Flames" signs in and outside homes to remind people not to smoke.

Fire Safety Videos

For More Information

Fire Prevention Office
10465 - 105 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5H 0P5

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8am to 4:30pm (Closed on weekends and statutory holidays)


780-496-3628 (voicemail only)


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