Protecting Older Adults from the Risk of Fires and Burns

  • August 15, 2016
  • Blog

Fire safety and burn prevention targeting children understandably receive a lot of attention, but it is important to remember that adults can be involved in high-risk burn injuries, too. Regular adult activities like cooking and grilling can be the cause of serious burn injuries.[1]  To prevent injuries, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with these activities and to follow some simple safety tips.

Activities that lead to burn injuries can also increase the risk of fires. Grease fires or placing flammable objects too close to stoves can lead to serious burns and fires resulting in fatalities. [2]  Adults aged 65 years and older are two times more likely to die in home fires than younger adults; adults aged 85 years and older are four times more likely to die from a burn injury.[3]  Fortunately, there are some simple ways to minimize these risks.

Safety Tips:

  • Make sure each floor of your home has working smoke alarms. Smoke alarm batteries should be replaced every six months.
  • Be careful when cooking with grease. Never use water to put out a grease fire. Instead, keep the stove on low heat, and have a pan lid close by to suffocate any potential fires.[4]  It is also an important safety precaution to have a fire extinguisher nearby in the house in case of an extreme grease fire emergency.
  • Use oven mitts to handle hot pots and pans.[5] Never use kitchen towels, as these can easily catch fire.[6]
  • Never cook wearing long, loose sleeves that could potentially catch fire.[7]
  • Never leave food unattended while cooking.[8]

In case of a burn, run the affected area under cool water. Cover the area with a clean, dry bandage or sheet, and seek medical attention if necessary.[9] Keep in mind that burn injuries can be prevented by being careful and following these important safety steps.

For more information on burn prevention and additional safety tips, visit: http://www.ameriburn.org/preventionEdRes.php.

About the Author: Jack Berry is the managing partner and a personal injury lawyer in Allen & Allen’s Charlottesville, VA office. He has practiced law as a trial attorney in Central Virginia for almost 30 years. He is dedicated to protecting the rights of his clients in all areas of personal injury law including car crashes, truck accidents, defective products, wrongful death and brain injury cases.


[1] See, e.g.,

[2] See, e.g., http://www.ameriburn.org/

[3] http://www.ameriburn.org/

[4] See id.

[5] Id.

[6] See id.

[7] See id.

[8] See id.

[9] See id.