©2013 National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA Remembering When™ is a trademark of NFPA, Quincy, MA.
If you smoke, smoke outside. Provide smokers with large, deep, sturdy ashtrays. Wet cigarette butts and ashes before throwing them out or bury them in sand. Never smoke in bed. Never smoke if oxygen is used in the home.
Plan and practice your escape from fire and smoke. If possible, plan two ways out of every room in your home and two ways out of your home. Make sure windows and doors open easily. If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
Give space heaters space. Keep them at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from anything that can burn—including you. Shut off and unplug heaters when you leave your home, or go to bed. Always plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet, and never into an extension cord or power strip.
Stay in the kitchen when frying food. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the burner. Use a timer when cooking. If you are cooking on the stovetop and leave the room, take a timer, oven mitt, or wooden spoon as a reminder that you have something cooking. 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. Do not cook when taking new medication until you know how it will affect you. Wear tight-fitting or short sleeves when cooking. Use oven mitts to handle hot pans. Use lightweight manageable pans.
If your clothes catch fire: stop, drop, and roll. Stop (don’t run), drop gently to the ground, and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth to put out the fire. If you cannot drop and roll, keep a blanket or towel nearby to smother flames. If you use a wheelchair, scooter, or other device and are able to get to the floor, lock the device first before getting out and then roll until the flames are out. If you are a bystander, consider grabbing a rug, blanket, or fire blanket to help extinguish the flames. Use cool water for 3-5 minutes to cool the burn. Get medical help right away.
Smoke alarms save lives. Have smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area. For the best protection, make sure the alarms are interconnected so when one sounds, they all sound. Have someone test your smoke alarms once a month by pushing the test button. Make sure everyone in your home can hear the smoke alarms. Replace all alarms that are 10 years old or older. If you are hard of hearing or remove your hearing aids to sleep, consider purchasing a strobe alarm and/or bed shaker. Install carbon monoxide alarms outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home
Know your local emergency number. Your emergency number may be 9-1-1 or the fire department’s phone number. Once you have escaped a fire, call the fire department from a neighbor’s phone or a cell phone. In case of a medical emergency, have other emergency contact numbers (neighbor, family member) near the phone to call for assistance while waiting for first responders to arrive.
Plan your escape around your abilities. Have a land line telephone or a cell phone with a charger near your bed and post the local emergency number nearby in case you are trapped by smoke or fire. Consider subscribing to a medical alert system, which will provide you with a button you wear around your neck or wrist. If you have an emergency, just push the button and the service will send emergency responders. Have other necessary items near your bed, such as medications, glasses, wheel chair, walker, scooter, or cane. Keep a flashlight and a whistle near your bed to signal for help.
Exercise regularly. Exercise will help you build strength and improve your balance and coordination. Ask your doctor about the best physical exercise for you.
Take your time. Get out of chairs slowly. Sit a moment before you get out of your bed. Stand and get your balance before you walk. Be aware of your surroundings.
Keep stairs and walking areas clear. Remove electrical cords, shoes, clothing, books, magazines, and other items that may be in the way of foot traffic.
Improve the lighting in and outside your home. Use night lights or a flashlight to light the path between your bedroom and the bathroom. Turn on the lights before using the stairs. See an eye specialist once a year—better vision can help prevent falls.
Use non-slip mats. Non-slip mats increase safety in the bathtub and on shower floors. Have grab bars installed on the wall next to the bathtub, shower, and toilet. Wipe up spilled liquids immediately.
Be aware of uneven surfaces. Make sure indoor flooring is safe. Use only throw rugs that have rubber, non-skid backing. Consider non-skid pads under rugs. Always smooth out wrinkles and folds in carpeting. Be aware of uneven sidewalks and pavement outdoors. Ask a family member, a friend, or a neighbor to clear ice and snow from outdoor stairs and walkways. Always use hand rails, if available, and step carefully.
Stairways should be well lit. Lighting from both the top and the bottom of stairways is important. Have easy-to-grip handrails installed along the full length on both sides of the stairs.
Wear sturdy, well-fitting shoes. Low-heeled shoes with non-slip soles are best. These are safer than high heels, thick-soled athletic shoes, slippers, or stocking feet.