5 min read

Fire &Amp; Flood Home Safety Checklist For The Elderly

Natural disasters like floods and fires can cause immense damage to properties, eroding foundations and spreading rapidly. In their wake, they often leave behind a trail of devastation, injury, or even death.

The elderly population is particularly at risk during such calamities. For instance, in 2005, more than 50% of all fatalities during Hurricane Katrina were people aged 75 or older. Unfortunately, these disasters pose immediate physical dangers and can lead to long-term displacement, property loss, and emotional distress. 

In order to help reduce the risks of fire and flood in households with elderly persons, we have prepared a detailed safety checklist to minimize the risk they are exposed to and empower them to stay safe during disasters.

Top Contributing Factors to the Increased Risk Among the Elderly

Older residents are at a higher risk during emergencies and disasters than other age groups. This is due to various reasons that affect them disproportionately, such as:

  • Mobility Issues: Many seniors have difficulties moving quickly, which can be disastrous in a fire or flood. Limited mobility may also prevent them from taking rapid emergency actions such as shutting off water or gas valves.
  • Sensory Impairments: A decline in hearing or vision can result in older adults not recognizing early signs of danger, such as smoke alarms, the smell of gas, or water leaks.
  • Chronic Health Conditions: Health issues can affect an older person’s ability to cope with and recover from a disaster. For instance, respiratory conditions can be exacerbated by smoke from a fire.
  • Medications: Some medications can affect alertness or result in slower reaction times, making it harder for the elderly to respond appropriately in emergencies.

Other Risks to Safety for the Elderly in Home Settings

Aside from their physical ailments, the following can also increase the safety risks involving fire and floods among older adults:

  • Electrical Hazards: Older homes can have obsolete electrical systems that pose a severe fire threat, as they may have wiring and deteriorated components over time. Aging insulation can become brittle, exposing wires and creating potential fire hazards. 
  • Clutter: Accumulated belongings can be dangerous as they can add to the risk of fire and block escape routes in case an emergency exit is necessary. 
  • Flooding Vulnerabilities: Homes that lack modern weatherproofing may be at a higher risk of flooding, especially if the homeowner is elderly and unable to physically protect their home with flood defenses like sandbags or by moving their belongings to higher ground.

Home Safety for the Elderly: Minimizing Fire and Flood Risks in the Home

The following are important tasks that must be accomplished to ensure a safe living environment for elders:

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Conduct monthly checks on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Change batteries at least twice a year or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Ensure detectors are strategically placed and within audible range in living spaces, bedrooms, and kitchens.

Clutter Control

  • Regularly declutter living areas to minimize fire load and create unobstructed pathways.
  • Keep hallways and staircases clear of any unnecessary items to prevent tripping hazards.

Emergency Escape Plans

  • Develop a customized emergency escape plan considering the senior’s mobility level.
  • Identify multiple exit routes from different rooms and ensure easy access to windows.
  • Conduct regular drills to familiarize older adults with the escape plan.

Safety Modifications and Repairs

  • Install grab bars in bathrooms and hallways for support.
  • Ensure proper lighting throughout the house to prevent accidents.
  • Confirm accessibility and clarity of all utility controls.
  • Label controls clearly, using large, easy-to-read fonts.
  • Address electrical issues promptly; ensure wiring is up-to-date and in good condition.
  • Regularly inspect and repair plumbing to prevent leaks.
  • Check and repair any structural problems that may compromise safety.

Other Fire Safety Features

  • Install automatic shut-off devices for stoves and irons.
  • Regularly test these devices to ensure proper functioning.
  • Install temperature-regulated faucets to prevent scalding injuries.

Flood Defenses

  • Elevate utilities if the senior’s home is located in a flood zone.
  • Waterproof basements to prevent flooding.
  • Install a sump pump to manage excess water.

Emergency Contact Numbers

  • Maintain a readily accessible list of emergency contact numbers by each phone in the house.
  • Share the list with caregivers, neighbors, and family members.

The Importance of a Home Safety Assessment for Elderly Homes

Safety for older adults during unfortunate events should begin with a comprehensive safety assessment for elderly homes. This assessment is crucial in creating a personalized safety checklist that addresses inherent safety concerns within their home while also aligning with the person’s needs.

Moreover, regular assessments ensure that safety measures keep changing with the evolving circumstances, promoting a secure and comfortable home environment for aging individuals.

What to Do In Case of an Emergency

In the event of a natural disaster, such as a flood or fire, our elderly loved ones must prioritize their safety. As elderly people are the ones facing the most risk, evacuating promptly is vital in minimizing the risk of harm and ensuring that emergency responders can lend their assistance. 

Personal belongings should be set aside as seniors heed evacuation orders and move to higher ground or designated safe areas. Seeking refuge in secure shelters can increase their chances of avoiding hazards and receiving timely aid. 

Keep Your Home and Loved Ones Secure With Restoration 1 of Kansas City

Dealing with the aftermath of a flood or fire can be an incredibly overwhelming experience. However, you don’t have to face it alone. With decades of collective experience, the experts at Restoration 1 remain available 24/7 to help you protect your property and ensure your family’s safety. 

When faced with the stress and anxiety of these situations, Restoration 1 is committed to providing top-tier restoration services and a seamless, stress-free restoration experience. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today!