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Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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Fire Prevention & Safety For Older Adults



Check out the safety information below from the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal and Portland Fire & Rescue



What Can You Do to Prevent Fires?


Smoking Safety

  • Smoke outside.
  • Don’t smoke in bed or when feeling drowsy.
  • Don’t smoke while using oxygen.
  • Use large, deep, sturdy ashtrays.
  • Wet cigarette butts and ashes before disposing them.

Cooking Safety

  • Don’t leave cooking food unattended.
  • Set a timer or turn on a light as a reminder you are cooking.
  • Don’t cook if you are drowsy from medication or alcohol.
  • Don’t wear loose sleeves over hot stove burners – they can melt, ignite, or catch on handles of pots and pans.
  • Keep dishtowels paper towels, potholders, and other combustible items away from stove burners.
  • If a pan of food catches fire, carefully slide a lid over it and turn off the burner.

Electrical Safety

  • Maintain electrical cords and appliances.
  • Do not place electrical cords under rugs.
  • Plug appliances directly into wall outlets.

Home Heating Safety

  • Use space heaters carefully.
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet from items that can burn.
  • Make sure your space heater has an automatic tip-over switch.
  • Unplug heaters when not in use, before going to bed, and before leaving home.
  • Don’t use extension cords with space heaters.
  • Maintain woodstoves and fireplaces.
  • Have a professional clean and inspect chimney and woodstove flues yearly.
  • Keep combustibles 3 feet from fire and sources of heat.
  • Always use a fireplace screen.
  • Dispose of ashes in a metal container, outside and away from combustibles.

 Do You Have the Tools for Fire Safety?


Smoke Alarms

  • Have smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in each bedroom.
  • Have someone push the test button, and vacuum smoke alarm vent once a month.
  • Make sure everyone in the home can hear the smoke alarms, especially while sleeping.
  • Smoke alarms for the deaf or hard of hearing are available.

Home Fire Escape Plan

  • Know two ways out of every room and two ways out of your home.
  • Make sure windows and doors open easily.
  • Plan your escape based on your abilities.
  • In a fire, get out and stay out.
  • Don’t go back in for family, pets, or personal items.
  • Once you have escaped, call 9-1-1.

What To Do if You Catch on Fire?

  • Stop, drop, and roll if you are able.
  • If you can’t stop, drop, and roll, smother flames with towel or blanket.
  • Get medical help immediately.

Home Fire Sprinklers

  • If possible, choose to live in a home that has fire sprinklers installed.
  • If you’re building a new home or moving to a new facility, make sure it has a home fire sprinkler system.
  • Installing both smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers reduces the risk of death in a home fire.

Click here to view the above information in a brochure form created by the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office. If you have further questions, you are encouraged to contact Portland Fire & Rescue's Public Education Office at (503) 823-3700.


May 10, 2010


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