The weather in south Texas is not marked by long stretches of cold like other parts of the country. However, when we get bursts of frigid weather, the temperatures are not only uncomfortable, but can also be deadly especially for senior citizens who are more vulnerable to the cold. We put together a few safety tips to make sure the loved ones in your life who are older stay safe this winter.
The extra layers of clothing that the elderly tend to wear during the winter to stay warm may be insufficient to keep them comfortable. Some seniors may decide to use portable heating units to help them stay warm, such as space heaters. According to the National Fire Protection Association, half of home heating equipment fires are in the months between December and February. Here’s a few ways to prevent a heat-related fire:
- Keep any item which is flammable, at least 3 feet away from a heating source.
- Never use your stove or oven to heat your home.
- Get your chimney or heating equipment inspected every year.
- Turn off heating equipment when sleeping or leaving a room.
- Use the proper fuel or wood for heating equipment.
The United States Fire Administration recommends testing smoke alarms in your home at least once a month. USAF says replace the batteries in your smoke alarms every year. If it has been 10 years since the alarm was manufactured, you need to get a new one. It is critical that these life-saving devices are regularly checked. USFA says three out of five home fire deaths are caused by smoke alarms that didn’t go off.
CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS
Carbon monoxide is dubbed the “invisible killer” because it’s an odorless and colorless gas. Gasoline, wood, coal, propane and methane can create this gas when these fuels don’t burn off all the way. Heating or cooking devices are possible sources of this gas.
In Fort Worth, a 54-year-old woman and her 14-year-old son died in their home. Investigators told ABC 13 that they believe it was due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The victims were asleep upstairs in the home. Police said a car was left running in the garage.
They’re beautiful accents inside a home and they create a warm ambience, but candle-related fires spike over the winter. USFA says Christmas, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve are the top three days for candle related fires in homes.
“The elderly need your help during the winter. We urge you to take the time to ensure that your loved ones are not only kept warm, but that they are protected and safe,” said Andy Cruz, Pride PHC Vice President.