Dr. Debi Lynes interviews Randy Hunter about your home safety for any stage in life
(Duration: 33 minutes)
Check your smoke alarms. And don’t ever hesitate to call 911. Better to be safe than sorry.
Debi Lynes (00:03): Hi and welcome to Aging in Place for every stage in life. What if you could visit or have a home that would accommodate anyone at any age, any physical ability at any time? How cool would that be? That’s what we’re doing here at Aging in Place. Why me? Because I’m a doctor of psychology and I specialize in physical spaces in health and wellness. Also, I love designing with intent at any age. Why now? Because we the baby boomers want to age in place gracefully and we want our families around us as much as we can and why you the audience? Because we want you to experience what it’s like to have a home that’s safe, aesthetically pleasing, and that you can live in at any age with any ability at any time. I’d like to introduce you now to Aging in Place Podcast for every stage in life. Hi and welcome to Aging in Place for any stage in life. I am here with Randy Hunter. He is a firefighter and I am thrilled to talk with you. Today we’re going to talk about all kinds of safety, but before we get started, Oh, you grandfather of a six-month-old. Tell us a little bit about your background and what you do now.
Randy Hunter (01:24): So I’ve been in the fire service for 26 years now. I started off as a volunteer rod on the coattails with my dad in a small world department in South Western Pennsylvania.
Debi Lynes (01:36): Oh did you, okay.
Randy Hunter (01:36): So just about an hour South of Pittsburgh. And I knew I wanted to be a firefighter forever since a little kid. Joined the Marine Corps, was a firefighter for the Marine Corps and crash fire rescue. I did that for a short period of time. I got out. I was fortunate enough to get hired in Morgantown, West Virginia, where I spent 10 years as a firefighter there, which is pretty close to where I grew up. So it was a nice working, I just got tired of the winters at times, you know what I mean? So I came down here on vacation one year.
Debi Lynes (02:04): And here is Hilton Head [Island], South Carolina.
Randy Hunter (02:06): Absolutely yes. And here’s the Hilton Head. And I’m loved being down here. I applied for a job with the Bluffton Township Fire District, July 31st of 2008 and I was hired August 7th of 2008 and moved August 9th.
Debi Lynes (02:22): Well, tell me what your role is down here now.
Randy Hunter (02:25): So I was with the training division for the last 11 years. I’ve been recently reassigned to community risk reduction
Debi Lynes (02:31): What is that mean “community risk reduction”?
Randy Hunter (02:33): Well, I mean it is just what it says. We’re here re reducing the risk in the community. But many years ago where I shop until just recently, it’s always been known as fire prevention and that’s what the fire promise that we’ve been there to prevent fires. And we realize now that our overall goal is to reduce any kind of danger to our community, to our citizens. So it’s not community risks. So that goes anywhere from, you know, fire safety to our hurricane to trigger treating, making sure that people have the proper costumes on a barbecue, grilling fireworks, even though we’re not supposed to use them down here in South Carolina killers. Yeah. But that’s what we realize now that we have an ultimate goal of trying to protect our community.
Debi Lynes (03:13): It does seem like the overarching role of the fire department now is just really broad and generalized. I mean, you’re here today talking about Aging in Place and I think the fun part for me is talking about safety in and around your home is what we’re going to focus on today. And even though the podcast is Aging in Place, we’re talking about any stage in life. And that’s what you said when I said, when I said that you had the best comment.
Randy Hunter (03:38): Yeah, we have program. We did, we shouldn’t be looking at it. I don’t exactly know how it’s, I wish I could remember what I said earlier, because I believe.
Debi Lynes (03:44): No that’s exactly what you said.
Randy Hunter (03:44): But we need to be, we have programs from you know, small children to very elderly people. We look at all these different aspects of what they need to learn. Captain Lee Levesque, he’s great at public education. He’s also in the community risk reduction and he is out in schools all the time. Even when he meets with kids all the time about, you know, fire safety don’t be afraid of firefighters. But now we’re broadening that to where we’re going around talking about like we’re going to talk about today, slips and falls and how to talk, how to protect yourself around the home. But I think that’s what makes it so this position now is so interesting is because we are literally out there and when we go places it doesn’t take very long for someone to find out, Oh you at the fire farm. I have a question for you. And then there they are asking this question and how to make things better.
Debi Lynes (04:32): Well, let me ask you a question about how to position this. Initially I was going, do we position this with, again, let’s talk about little kids in the home to older kids or is it better to do sort of a tour of a home, let’s say for you. In other words, when you pull in to a, you get a call, what would be one of the first safety issues going to that call?
Randy Hunter (04:58): When you look at us coming in to some or you know, other organizations maybe like up in Fairfax, Virginia, for example, they have codes that say that you’re building, if it’s a commercial structure, the numbers had to be such and such size. They gotta be contrast. And it’s the same thing for our residents. We want to make sure that when the fire apparatus or EMS or police pull up in front of your house, that it’s clearly marked that what your dresses, you know I knew I put in here, I saw the one.
Debi Lynes (05:24): Right.
Randy Hunter (05:24): Yeah. If it was nighttime, that one outside here is a little bit difficult to see and we just want to make sure that it’s visible.
Debi Lynes (05:31): So you said contrast. What does that mean?
Randy Hunter (05:33): Like if you have a white house, do you want black letters.
Debi Lynes (05:35): Oh, got it.
Randy Hunter (05:36): Yeah. So pretty simple. You know, we just, I didn’t know, maybe I didn’t explain it. He shaking his head, she’s laughing. So maybe, but you want to make sure that if you stand in a road that your house is easily identified from the road when the apparatus in the front boom. They know exactly where they’re at. It
Debi Lynes (05:52): Was funny that you’re talking about that contrast. We had someone talking about new appliances and some of the appliances are actually paying attention to the contrast between the let’s say on the stove between being able to read it with a bigger font and then color contrast so that people can actually see it more clearly and easily. Right. I mean, it was pretty interesting.
Randy Hunter (06:13): And I think no matter what we’re doing. I mean, I just taught a class for fire instructors. We’re talking about making PowerPoints and it’s gonna be contrast, you know what I mean? Just you gotta make it, everything’s gotta be visible. Plant number what we want. We are very visual people and didn’t want to see, know what we’re looking at.
Debi Lynes (06:27): So when you drive in, walk again walking into a home, what do you think of when you think of safety? What are you looking for?
Randy Hunter (06:35): Well I’ve coming from the fire department, our main thing is we hope that every house has working smoke detectors. That’s, you know, captain leave in the back when he’s out there. That’s his smoke detector. Smoke the type of smoke detectors. That’s what you know, we want to see every home have a smoke detector.
Debi Lynes (06:50): How many were, how often do we check them and why? Smoke detector.
Randy Hunter (06:54): Oh well. So after I said repeat it, smoke alarms, it’s allowing us to that they’re smoking house, what we recommend it. So before we get into fall, we want to make sure that, because this can lead down a whole rabbit hole of a thousand different things. So if we want to stick to certain things, we might not want to go down smoke detector or smoke alarms, but we’ll get down a little bit. So what we recommend in houses now, we recommend that people sleep with their bedroom door closed.
Debi Lynes (07:17): Oh.
Randy Hunter (07:17): It’s practically pretty amazing. A fire in a hallway. How much did that door will stop and protect this bedroom? This room right here, for example. Now it’s easy for me to preach that, but I don’t practice that because we have animals and we are not going to lock, my wife’s locked the cats out of the bedroom. Okay. So what we say is if you’ll sleep with, you know, you should have one in the bedroom with your door shut.
Debi Lynes (07:38): In the bedroom.
Randy Hunter (07:38): Yup and then one outside the bedroom cause it’s bad because if a fire starts in here and that door’s closed, you want the smoke alarm to detect it inside this room.
Debi Lynes (07:46): Good point.
Randy Hunter (07:46): If the door’s closed, you want one outside that way for something in the hallway that the smoke is detected out there as well.
Debi Lynes (07:55): Is there a rule of thumb for how many smoke detectors you can have? And I know on Hilton head this house was built in 58 and it’s considered a really old house. But in Pennsylvania and other places relatively.
Randy Hunter (08:06): Well. And you know in Bluffton, yeah, this is [a, I mean ]I’m not saying, but.
Debi Lynes (08:09): It’s an old house, yeah.
Randy Hunter (08:09): A lot of the new smoke alarms are hardwired into them with a battery backup and those batteries are coming based on building code. But what they recommend is, and you kind of caught me off guard with this, but we’re rolling one per bedroom and then they want one outside per floor. Yup.
Debi Lynes (08:28): Okay, that makes a lot of sense.
Randy Hunter (08:29): And where you don’t want a smoke alarm is in your kitchen, whatever. Butter stove. I mean, that’s, you know, I know it’s a joke with the kids about it because even when you’re talking to kids, you make them laugh. And I’m like, well, my wife thinks that’s the foods. But you know, you gotta think about them. We had a hotel built in Morgantown and they installed all the smoke alone right next to the showers. So if someone would have a hot shower, I’m going to open up the shower door. It says the larva every single time. So they had to go back and re on it, you know, and install these, reinstall them. Sometimes people just don’t know, thinking they think smoke, they don’t think
Debi Lynes (09:05): Exactly. What about carbon monoxide? I hear more and more about that.
Randy Hunter (09:10): Very, very important, especially is your house well, well, here’s what we recommend it. My house for example, is all electric. Right? So I have less of a chance from getting carbon monoxide. It doesn’t mean I don’t need one cause it’s amazing. We had a call the other day, A gentleman went in and put into his garage and has a car with a push button, push the button, thought it turned off, got out, was my somewhere else in a car, kept running. So if you wouldn’t have had a carbon monoxide alarm in his house, then he would’ve been in trouble.
Debi Lynes (09:42): Who would have ever thought that? We’re going to have to take a quick break.
Randy Hunter (09:44): Absolutely.
Debi Lynes (09:44): We’re going to come right back. We have a lot more to talk about here with safety and fire and all of those good things. We’re here again with Randy Hunter on the Aging in Place Podcast. Hi, I’m Dr. Debi Lynes. Design elements are psychologically and physically supportive and conducive to health and wellness. To learn more about what lines on design can do for you for more information on certified Aging in Place and facilitative and supportive design, look for us at lynesondesign.com. That’s L-YN-E-S on design dot com.
Debi Lynes (10:22): We are back here on Aging in Place. We are here with Randy Hunter and we are talking about safety. We’re getting ready to talk about your personal favorite thing.
Randy Hunter (10:31): Slips and falls.
Debi Lynes (10:32): Slips and falls at any age, but you said it’s one of the things you deal with older people all the time. Probably your biggest call.
Randy Hunter (10:40): Yeah, a lot of times, you know, I think when we, as we get older, a lot of people don’t want to admit that they need some help. Are they going to have to look? I bought gloves or gloves. I bought glasses the other day and I really was, I pride myself on never needing glasses and all of a sudden I’m like, I buy new glasses. So we look at things like this. I think some of our, the community, we really want to say, look, it’s okay if you start to have a little bit of issues with getting around. We just want to make it safer for you. Everyone wants to live independently. So when we started talking about slips and falls, we want to make sure that you can go around the house and they can kind of look at our home and say, you know what? This is a potential trip hazard. If you have hardwood floors like in here and you have loose rugs, loose rugs are going to make people slip and fall. It’s kind of simple. So we go around and we look and make sure we can move those things around and we don’t want them around anyways.
Debi Lynes (11:29): So wait a minute, you will come in and walk my house with me?
Randy Hunter (11:32): We can absolutely.
Debi Lynes (11:33): Because that would be amazing. I’ve got a one-year-old grandchild, my 91-year-old dad who’s here. It would be so helpful because I think oftentimes I see my house so often, I don’t pay attention. So what, so what are some of the things you said loose rugs that makes sense.
Randy Hunter (11:48): Loose rugs, you want to make sure. So as we get, then you can use this to, for someone to say someone breaks a leg. Okay. And so it’s not just always looking at the elderly. We’re looking at things that are going to make that person get through that house easier. So open concept, make sure that they have an open area to walk there. They’re not going to be bumping into things. I don’t know how many times I get up in the middle of the night and you know, you do something, you pump in, I’ve got a new watch and I don’t know, it feels like it’s 4,000 times bigger. I bump it on every door, you know? But those are things that we look at as we’re going through. Do we have a lamp in a certain area where you really want in here, but the cord sticks out, you know?
Restrooms, excuse me. Restrooms. You know, when you go in and you’re getting in and out of the showers, slips and falls. We should have rubber [matt], you know, some grippy things on the bottom of the shower, the tub, handrails, you know, I mean, those are the little things that we would love to come in. And you know, not necessarily tell people what they need but make those recommendations.
Debi Lynes (12:44): Well, I think that’s what I mean, Aging in Place. I think I would love to have it at any age. I’d love to have somebody come in and share with me areas that were safe and areas that probably could use a little a safety update if you want.
Randy Hunter (12:57): Absolutely. And 90% actually probably 100% of fire departments in our nation. If someone was to call their local fire department, they would be able to come out and do a walkthrough and we do home inspections for fire. We can do home inspectors for safety. When it comes to residents, it’s one of the things where we don’t go around and really, Hey, can we come in? Can we come in here? Because that’s not really that a man’s home is his castle, for example. So that’s all. We can’t really enforce far coats.
Debi Lynes (13:22): But if we could invite you.
Randy Hunter (13:23): Absolutely 100% we will encourage it you know.
Debi Lynes (13:26): When you get calls, do you find that most of the time the slips and falls or in the bathroom or where? Bedroom, bathroom.
Randy Hunter (13:34): We [man] I don’t have those exact numbers, but bathroom, bedroom, that’s where two main.
Debi Lynes (13:39): Oh is it really?
Randy Hunter (13:39): Yeah. And a lot of times someone gets into a, maybe goes to the restroom or something and getting up and saying down based on how they are still have anything to hold onto. So all of a sudden, you know, lowering down, they kind of lose grip. They don’t, some people don’t like that cold floor, so they put that rug there. So now we have two things. Now we’re trying to study ourselves, but then our rug slips out and then all of a sudden they fall down. You know, talking about that again, not trying to get too far off the track here, then stay in and eventually hit a certain point.
Debi Lynes (14:07): I don’t know it’s kind of fun getting off track. It’s really interesting.
Randy Hunter (14:10): But we have, we got to make sure when someone slips and falls we need to make sure that, that we’re checking on our neighbors. Okay making sure that we know our neighbors and make sure you have somewhere to call. If someone falls down, let’s say I fought on the floor and just can’t get up, it actually after so long it actually becomes pre dangerous for them. Yeah, Because the way they lay their it depending on, it can be a very serious health risk. So what we recommend is obviously having some way maybe.
Debi Lynes (14:37): Communicate.
Randy Hunter (14:37): To communicate or just know your neighbors and say, Hey, you know, I haven’t seen Mr. and Mrs. Smith in a while. My wife and I did it the other day. We are a neighbor of ours who we see summer front porch and day in and day out had a little sticky note on his door from a package delivery and my wife combined and she’s like, man, you know, I dunno, so-and-so’s huh. We’ve got packages such been there the next day. It was still in there. So we called our, his, one of his good friends. Do you know where [inaudible] is? And they’re like, Oh yeah, he’s been in Vegas for a month. And we’re like, Ooh, but we, but we pay attention to our neighbors and what they’re kind of doing now because we’re nosy. We’re friendly. Maybe a little nosy too, but you want to know. But you know, if you haven’t seen someone stop in just checking them. You know, everybody wants to see that. And it’s good being a neighbor too.
Debi Lynes (15:27): Do you teach people how to get up if they fall? Do you talk to people about it? Like you come in and someone’s slipped or fallen on the floor and you’re like, Ooh, cause I know because my dad lives with me at 91 that’s, you know that a six foot tall gentleman that weighs 195 pounds, who falls is dead weight.
Randy Hunter (15:47): Oh that’s [an, and ]it is very tough for me to go out, but that’s why when we go, we send the whole engine company because we are going to have three guys and girls to help pick somebody up. Now, the other reason too is if someone falls down, we are going to go and make sure that they’re just not getting need back in a chair. So that makes sense. So make sure they’re not hurt. We’re going to kind of, Hey, you know, and as our firefighters render and they are looking for those types of things, Hey Mr. Smith, we noticed you found this rug again today. Maybe we can just go ahead and take this rug up for you or you know, along those lines. Because but our firefighters are trained to always be vigilant of being able to help.
Debi Lynes (16:23): In other words, not just looking at what’s presenting, but sort of the periphery, what’s going on. Do you find that you enjoy the education and prevention piece of all this? In other words, going in, if you could have seen that rug and had been invited in to kind of take a walkthrough,
Randy Hunter (16:38): Oh, I love doing, I love doing the critical community risk reduction. You know, as a young firefighter, I wanted to go fight fires, which I still do. I still love doing that stuff. I don’t do it anymore. I want the trucks now, but I absolutely 100% love coming and doing something like this. Being able to educate our community. We go into our local retirement community here. I went in the other day and taught a CPR class, the security that runs a committee that oversees the community. But when I was in there, all of the residents saw my department vehicle saw me in uniform and had a thousand questions about everything and I could have sat there all day and talk to him just because I enjoy interacting with the community and to being able to help.
Debi Lynes (17:16): What kind of questions did you find that they were asking you? Which I think is really interesting.
Randy Hunter (17:21): Well, right now a [lot of question] we’re getting is smoke alarms and changing batteries. And when can we help them replace their smoke detectors. So we do a program where we can go out, we’ll help change batteries, but we’re looking for someone that’s not physically. Again, we’re looking at someone from their home by themselves that can’t physically get up on a ladder. So we’ll go out and help and change her batteries. Help replace your smoke alarms. Again, the fire services, one of the things awesome about who we’re talking about. It’s a broad scope, but someone calls us. We never tell them no. You know I mean we have a policy that says we don’t rescue cats out of trees anymore. But sure enough, if someone calls and says, my cat’s in a tree, guess what? We’re going to send an engine company over there and a truck company and they’re going to do what they can. They get that cow tree because we’re the fire department does not tell anybody. No. And we get called for maybe an elderly lady to them by herself or colors overflowing. She does nine one, one. There’s no one else a sense of fire-prone. It’s going to go, but luckily we’re going to go shut the water off. And more than likely we have a plumber or somebody is handy on the engine and they’re like, well, wait a second man. Let’s go ahead, here’s your problem. And they see another fix the problem. And you kind of hear stories about that all through the fire service. And I think that’s one of the things that drives people to be a firefighter.
Debi Lynes (18:37): Oh, I think it’s amazing. I want to talk about two things. I know we have to take a quick break here in just a minute. I’d like to talk about electrical wiring.
Randy Hunter (18:44): Okay.
Debi Lynes (18:44): And just because that for some reason that spooks me a little bit.
Randy Hunter (18:48): Me too.
Debi Lynes (18:48): Right. And then I’d love to talk about fire hazards in the house rooms so they are most likely. I guess my assumption is a kitchen, but let’s talk briefly if we can about electrical wiring.
Randy Hunter (19:04): Right now?
Debi Lynes (19:04): Sure.
Randy Hunter (19:04): Okay. So, well first off, there’s three things that I’m afraid of. Spiders, snakes, electricity, and not mastering any of those three snakes. I’m going a little better with. So if anyone has any questions at all about electricity, first of all, they need to look and see if it’s something with wiring, get a professional, don’t look at it. But when we’re looking to extension cords, we don’t want to overload outlets. We don’t want to have those. You know, my wife actually come home the other day and she’s like, Hey, I bought an extension cord for our new lamp. I’m like, no, we’re not putting [inaudible]. I mean only because it’s a $3 extension cord. It’s not will it catch fire? You never know, but you don’t want to take the chance. You want to get something that’s actually, you know, you want to get an outlet plug directly into the outlet. Those extension cords get really hot, especially if they’re kinked.
Debi Lynes (19:52): That was the point of having an extension cord was to not do that.
Randy Hunter (19:56): Well they have some that are rated better than others and you’re going to have to look on, they have a UL slip on and everything, but those are things. Ideally, you want to use a surge protector and they make them at all lengths. Now that way, if something happens in that quarter is short, it’s going to cut the power and not continue to do it. That’s one of the main things that we want to look at.
Debi Lynes (20:13): We’re going to take a quick break. We’re going to come back and we’re still going to talk about electricity because you’re afraid of it and we can’t talk about dividers or snakes and we’ll go back to that. Stay with us. We’ll be right back.
Henrik de Gyor (20:23): For more podcast episodes, links, information and media inquiries, please visit our website at aginginplacepodcast.com as we transition through life with the comfort and ease you deserve, discover how you can create a home that will adapt to you as you journey through life and the changes it will bring. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as our host Debi Lynes and her expert guests discuss relevant topics to creating a home for all decades in life. Don’t miss our weekly episodes of Aging in Place. Podcast for every stage in life.
Debi Lynes (21:00): We are back here on Aging in Place. We’re talking to Randy Hunter. We’re talking about electricity in your home. And I would think around the holidays and probably 4th of July are pretty sketchy and dangerous when it comes to house fires on electricity.
Randy Hunter (21:19): Well, especially at Christmas, we have all the what’s called Rizwan say, you know, he’s an expert interior illumination or however, but he look at this stuff and people do, they’re going to run a long extension cords during the holidays and we just got to make sure that we’re, the main thing with learning chords is getting a chord that’s actually rated for what you’re looking. I just purchased myself a surge protector that’s extra long for that reason because our surge protectors are normally that long. You don’t reach my needs your side about a longer one so that if something does happen, it actually has a switch. It’ll [self Oh].
Debi Lynes (21:55): Turn off.
Randy Hunter (21:55): It’ll, yeah,
Debi Lynes (21:57): So if I get a surge protector, I can put my $3 extension cord in it [and then.]
Randy Hunter (22:04): No, I mean the idea would be in theory it should protect it so that that $3 extension cord shorts out the surge protectors should stop that. But the idea would be like my surge protector, I bought a six foot one that kind of extends backwards and no one can see it. And we can plug our lamps into it.
Debi Lynes (22:22): What’s so funny, when we do the podcast at the end, we do takeaways and the takeaway from this is already do not buy a $3. I mean, I didn’t know that. I thought
Randy Hunter (22:31): A lot of people don’t, and I’m not going to, don’t get me wrong, if you look at my garage, there’s probably a $3 corn hanging up there. We try and do the best we can as firefighters to really represent and do practice what we preach. But every once in a while you get somewhere where you just really want that lamp to turn on and all of a sudden. But the idea is that we don’t want to be, we want to try to avoid something like that.
Debi Lynes (22:52): What is the biggest cause of fires in homes in general?
Randy Hunter (22:55): [ are between] cooking and heating. That’s the two biggest fires, right or causes of fires right there. Now actually in the low country here we have a lot of lightning strikes and a summertime we run a ton of lightning strikes. It’s just because of the Pines and all that stuff here. But a lot of our nationwide heating and cooking fires seem to be the main cause of home fires.
Debi Lynes (23:19): What about dryers?
Randy Hunter (23:19): While dryers, the main thing that it causes fires and dryers is going to be the vents being cleaned out, making sure.
Debi Lynes (23:26): What vents being cleaned out?
Randy Hunter (23:28): Yeah you know where the lint traps are or anything like that. You’re a clean nose notice I’m asking where all your podcast, we’re going to turn the ties now. But yeah, so that heats up in there and then when that air can’t flow as it restricts it, then it can’t do what it needs. It doesn’t operate properly and it catches fire. So, you know, when you look at your overall, and like I said, we can talk for four months on safety, but when you’re looking at, you want to follow the manufacturer’s instruction, do you want to stay Virgin on keeping things maintained, clean watching for slips and fall, you know, so there’s a ton of stuff that can be done.
Debi Lynes (24:08): I’ll tell you what scares me the most for myself is you’re gonna flip it is I have a tendency of popping popcorn or doing something and getting distracted. And I’ve burned pot on the stove, which is really embarrassing because I, you know, you don’t think that that’s the deal.
Randy Hunter (24:22): So things happen like that. We were cooking and one time w you know, a lot of people have done that. Again, you get attached track. We were cooking one time at the house and we had a wooden cooking cutting board and I was doing something and needed to counter space and set it off. We have a flat top stove. The stove didn’t even think anything about it. My wife’s like, something’s burning and I didn’t realize that the burners were on and I sitting around on top of the burners. And so people do make mistakes. You know, the idea is that w we all are human. We’re going to do that, but to try and prevent those as much as possible. Now I would not want to come to your house if you were cooking in some, yeah, it’s on the stove.
Debi Lynes (24:59): That would not be good.
Randy Hunter (24:59): You know, but that’s something that we can, you know, again, just trying to stay vigilant.
Debi Lynes (25:05): We had a situation, I, and I would be curious as to how you would handle this. We were in the kitchen about a year ago. You would love this. We were in the kitchen about a year ago and I had was having a meeting and I, and I looked and there were literally swear to you flame shooting out of my dishwasher, my dishwasher.
Randy Hunter (25:23): What was on fire?
Debi Lynes (25:23): The[ top panel. It had been.] I had someone out to fix it the day before and I guess something just so I went to my laundry room and I got my fire extinguisher that was dated 1987 and I went, Ooh, I’m scared to touch it because of all the spider webs. And now that I’ve touched it, I don’t know what to do with it. And the reason I bring that up is fire extinguishers. I mean, it was, there were flames. I, you know, I think you’re going to be wise in what you’re doing, how you handle these situations.
Randy Hunter (25:57): Yeah, absolutely. And you know, so all of these things we’re talking about, you can find them through the nfta.org the national fire protection association. Look, your local fire department, whatever it may be. But like I said, there’s so much stuff we could talk about how a fire extinguisher, make sure it’s dated, make sure you know where it’s at.
Debi Lynes (26:14): Make sure you know how to use?
Randy Hunter (26:16): Yeah, we go into a lot of businesses and everyone’s all excited being, Oh man, we have an AED. And I’m like, Oh, that’s great. Where is it?
Debi Lynes (26:25): And an add for the people.
Randy Hunter (26:26): Oh, an automatic external defibrillator, which is great. They have one, but sometimes other employees don’t know where it’s at, you know? So these safety tips can go into your home, into your place of employment. If you go to a restaurant, there’s are things that just be vigilant and know, you know, what you can do to be safe.
Debi Lynes (26:42): And again, fire extinguishers I think are intuitive to you. You don’t even think about them. But I think too many of us, and I, it’s funny because my kids have no idea and I mean they’re adults, they’re young adults, but I think that they’ve just always been used to growing up with them but not really ever see them.
Randy Hunter (26:58): Yeah. And I, and that’s the way the fire service is going out with the community risk reduction. A lot of our programs, you know, 10 years ago were strictly based a kid stopped op roll, don’t play with fire, whatever it may be. Now we’re realizing that we do have older kids, adolescents and young adults that don’t know how to operate a fire extinguisher. So we, you know, we try to encourage them to come out and learn CPR, first aid, just you name it. We try and educate people in it with the star, anything.
Debi Lynes (27:28): It’s amazing. So people can call no matter where you are in the US or our standards or codes. Pretty, pretty much the same. In other words, are firefighters all trained in CPR?
Randy Hunter (27:39): No. Well, yes, that’s there. I want to say how to say it. So broad question. Yes. All firefighters are trained a certain level of medical. Some fire departments are just the very basic of first aid or what they call an emergency first responder. Then we have EMT, EMT advanced, paramedics, and then we even have some…
Debi Lynes (27:59): Like paramedics who are a helicopter pilot.
Randy Hunter (28:01): Yeah. We have flight medics and stuff like that actually to a part-time. So when we have all that stuff, so we are trained in all that. All firefighters are trained in basic fire prevention. Like we know how they give you come to our youngest firefighter and say, Hey, I would like to have a, can you tell me he’s a fire extinguisher? They shouldn’t be able to because that’s in recruit school, they’re required to do some pub[lic] ed[ucation] during recruit school. But yes, 90%. And if they don’t know the answer to it, they know exactly where to go and help you find it.
Debi Lynes (28:26): And you know, we’ve only got a couple of minutes to go, but before we go, I think I’d be remiss in not asking what is an emergency when something happens. How do I know when to actually call nine one one? I think that’s, there’s a big misconception.
Randy Hunter (28:41): Well, my biggest thing is don’t ever, if you have to question it, call number one. We would rather come to your house, come to your place of employment and the canceled en route or get, they’re like, Oh, everything’s okay. As opposed to sitting in the station and like, you know, they called us 10 minutes earlier, so don’t ever, if you have to question whether or not it’s an emergency AppSumo herbs and call nine one one.
Debi Lynes (29:02): Is, it really is the way, whether it’s, whether it’s physical fire.
Randy Hunter (29:08): Yeah. Well, because an emergency to me may not be an emergency to you and vice versa. So I’m not going to sit here and dictate, but I will, if somebody feels that they need help, we never, ever want them to discourage them from calling nine one one. We want them to call, have us come out, have law enforcement, EMS, whoever, come out, assess the situation and we’d rather go back home and making sure you’re safe as opposed to not being calling them out.
Debi Lynes (29:31): Then on that note, what information do I need to be armed with to help you expedite this and that you can do your job and can be more efficient with the information,
Randy Hunter (29:43): Current current location, what their problem is, where it calling from. And with cell phones nowadays, we need to make sure that when the dispatcher answered the phone that you tell them where you’re actually calling from. Sometimes like the fuss gallon, maybe not a great sample. It may actually, it may go the fussy Island right now as a Hilton head dispatch. [inaudible] May ping on you for counting. So where are you calling from.
Debi Lynes (30:06): And so that means no matter where we are in the US, that same situation.
Randy Hunter (30:10): They could have asked you. 100%.
Debi Lynes (30:10): Do you find that people don’t know where they’re calling sure on?
Randy Hunter (30:14): Oh, absolutely. We have a lot of students are down here. We have a lot of tourists. Hey, I see a lot of, there’s a house on fire where I’m not sure where, but I think it’s I it all, I’m on [Route] 278 and I see dark black smoke somewhere down there, so we got send an apparatus [a fire engine] to try and pinpoint where this, you know, and people don’t usually stay where they’re at.
Debi Lynes (30:33): I tell you what, the more we talked, the more questions I have, I can think of outside and gardening and all kinds of questions. Will you come back and talk to us?
Randy Hunter (30:41): Oh actually I love this, please.
Debi Lynes (30:41): Randy, thank you so much. We want to thank all of you for joining us here on aging in place for any stage in life. I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Tracy. Tracy is naturally curious and always creative and when we were doing the Aging in Place Podcast, she said there are so many quick tips that I can think of offhand. My response, who knew she’s going to be with us every week, giving us a quick tip and to hint that is a practical application.
Tracy Snelling (31:17): Thanks Debi. Love thy neighbor. They come in handy one day. If you’re friends with your neighbors, the ones right next door, or even just a few houses down, come up with a system that lets them know you’re okay. I used to watch over an elderly woman who lived alone and I had her call me every morning at 8:00 AM and she let my phone ring twice. That way it doesn’t disturb what I’m doing. And if she didn’t call me by 8:15 AM, I would call her to make sure she was okay. Also, she would turn on her porch light every night. So without disturbing her, I knew always well when I did my drive by and her neighbors kept a watchful eye for the light too and they had my phone number just in case. So devise a plan. Let your neighbors know that you’re good at baking or shopping for cookies, at least for an exchange for a watchful eye. Who knew your safety could be right next door.
Debi Lynes (32:15): Randy, what an amazing interview today and talk about a takeaway. Here’s the bottom line. Please, please, please check your smoke alarms. And don’t ever hesitate to call 911. Better to be safe than sorry. Thank you all for joining us here on aging in place for any stage in life.
Henrik de Gyor (32:36): Aging in Place Podcast is hosted by Debi Lynes and produced by Henrik de Gyor. If you have any comments or questions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org we would love to hear from you if you’re interested in advertising or sponsoring this podcast, email us that email@example.com
Thank you for listening to Aging in Place Podcast.