There are ways we can all remain safe while we are at home while making sure our loved ones always have care with first response situations.

In this Coping to Care episode, we speak with the Orange County Fire Departments professionals, Captain Ben Gonzalez and Brandi Najm, highlighting the importance of being prepared and looking at safety first. They give tips that you can implement right now, all of which can potentially save your life.

Listen to this informative and important podcast to make sure that senior safety comes first in your home.

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Key Things To Do For Fire Safety

Captain Ben Gonzalez highlights that the most important part of staying safe in case of a fire is early detection. There are specific things you can do for senior at home safety to make sure you are prepared.

The first and most important way to remain prepared is to have a smoke detector. If you have an older model of a detector, make sure you check once a year that it is sounding and working effectively.

A working fire extinguisher is also important to have. If you have a fire that is smaller than your trash can, then you can use the extinguisher. If not, then get out of the house first and close the door behind you so it keeps the fire in check. Usually, this will keep a fire in one space for at least 20 minutes.

Usually, many don’t think about things that are as simple as closing their door. This means that if someone can’t get out right away, having the door closed will allow someone to get through the window or door faster and will prevent the fire from spreading in the room that you are sleeping in.

Captain Gonzalez also noted that there are ways to get in touch with the fire department and let them know how to get into their home, such as keeping an extra key hidden outside. This is confidential information that allows someone to get in without forceful entry.

Always Have A Plan To Get Out Of the House

Prevention of being harmed in a fire is not only related to having the right preparation but also having a plan in case something happens. Know how you can get out of the house if it is possible.

Along with the plan is to make sure that others know you are safe, as well as others in the surrounding. The first characteristic an officer will look for in a fire is to make sure that everyone is out. Make sure you are accountable, tell your neighbor that you will go to their home if there is a fire, and have a plan to make sure officers know where you are. If you are leaving, make sure others know where you are.

This allows officers to have awareness of whether they need to go into the home to rescue someone or that everyone is safe.

Safety in the Kitchen

There are not only prevention measures, but also home safety approaches you can use.

Kitchen timers, for example, will assist with remembering and not being distracted while you are cooking.

Make sure you have a clean surface before cooking, and that there isn’t anything next to your oven, such as paper towels, that can be problematic.

Ovens also should be checked. It’s important to not use your oven for storage and to keep you safe while you are in the kitchen.

What About Your Medication?

If you want extra pre-cautions, visit the Orange County Fire Department. Click here to visit.

They have introduced a program to assist with senior at home safety. This offers a form that allows you to fill out emergency contact information, your current status, and even if you are on medications. You can then keep the form on your refrigerator or in an easily accessible space to make sure the department can assist you.

Captain Ben Gonzalez noted to highlight where your medications are and to let the department know if you have medicine in the refrigerator. If they are in one location, this assists with getting the right treatment and making sure you have the proper aid.

If you are, then you can work with their department. If an issue does arise, they have all your information before they get to your home and can make sure that you are able to get to safety while understanding your situation. More importantly, they can contact others you have listed so you have the support you need.

Fall Prevention Tips

What is the most common reason why falls occur among seniors? Captain Gonzalez highlights the main issues and what you can do.

A major reason for falls is because of dehydration. He states that it’s important to create a system to make sure you are drinking enough, such as putting 8 cups on the counter every day and taking one away every time you drink.

Coming up with systems is important so you get enough fluid and stay hydrated at all times of the year.

Captain Gonzalez also noted that diet places a part in your ability to prevent falls and stay balanced. A healthy diet with plenty of nutrition is important. Creating a meal plan that assists with keeping your energy at higher levels will provide you with everything you need for senior at home safety.

Also, look at reminders to always take your medication at the same time and create systems that assist you with your needs for fall prevention.

It’s also important to make your home safe with different items that allow you to stay safe. Simple additions, such as grab on mats, wearing shoes that don’t have traction, and getting unnecessary items out of the way can assist with fall prevention.

Captain Gonzalez said that even things we don’t think about, such as getting your eyes checked, can make a significant difference in fall prevention and assisting with staying safe.

Drowning Prevention for Seniors

Brandi Najm is an expert in prevention such as drowning. She highlighted that it is possible to even drown in 2 inches of water.

Najm stated that in Orange County alone, there were 114 drownings in 2019. Most of the time, this is children that are 10 or younger or adults that are over 50. She believes that these statistics can go down because drowning is always preventable.

Most of the time, the drowning from children is because of a lack of supervision or barriers. Adults usually drown because of intoxication or because of medication complexities.

  1. A – alone. Never be alone. If you are swimming, always be with someone. Most drowning occurs when you are alone.
  2. B – Barriers. Create self watching gates, alarms, or notifications that you are in trouble or have gone to the pool. Notifying others in different ways is important.
  3. C – Classes. If you aren’t a strong swimmer, it’s important to take classes. If you don’t know CPR and basic aid, then it’s important to become informed.

Brandi mentioned that most emergency situations cause panic. When you are prepared with information and by setting up safety measures, you are more likely to respond in a way that can save you – or someone else’s – life.

Tips for Disaster Preparedness

Brandi states that less than 50% of us are prepared for a disaster. This is partially related to a lack of information on understanding what is important as well as not knowing how to panic.

Brandi highlights 3 things that the Orange County Fire Department uses to assist with disaster preparedness and prevention.

  1. Have a plan. You have to know who your players are. If you are alone, make sure that your neighbors know you and that can assist you when there is an issue. You can visit their website to think of those in their family who can help if you have an issue.She also states that you should know evacuation routes. If you need to leave your community, how will you get out? Understand the best ways in and out of an area so you are not in one place. Create these as a habit so you know how to take alternative routes to different places. If you are with others, know which meeting points you need to get to so everyone understands that everyone else is safe.The planning should include things like kits, potential links, individuals surrounding you, and resources.
  2. Have a kit. The OCFA website has recommendations of what you need to place in a kit for disaster recovery. Look at what you need to survive for at least 3 days and ideally for 7 – 10 days. Food, water, a change of clothes, radios, flashlights, blankets, medication, etc should all be in your disaster kit. Also think of others that you are with and what they would need, such as for children. Having a kit in your home and in your car, as well as portable kits, is important to keep with you.
  3. Look at your home hazards. Many of the fires or water floods that occur could be prevented if the home issues were resolved. For instance, an earthquake may cause the washer or dryer to disconnect from water. Look at potential hazards and make sure they are secure or that they can easily be turned off in case of a disaster. Flexible connections, securing heavy objects and ceiling fans, moving dishes to lower shelves in the kitchen, etc can all help for senior at home safety.