Fire Emergencies: Older Adults are at Increased Risk

Fire Emergencies: Older Adults are at Increased Risk

A fire department in the U.S. responds to a fire event every 24 seconds, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Although anyone can experience a fire, older adults are especially vulnerable.

People age 65 and older are twice as likely to be injured or killed during a fire emergency. By age 75, older adults are three times more at risk than the general population. At age 85, they’re four times as likely to be harmed during a fire emergency.

Why are older adults at more risk?

There are many factors that contribute to older adults being at higher risk during a fire emergency.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among adults age 65 and older. Considering the abrupt and unexpected nature of a fire emergency, older adults have an increased risk of falling while experiencing a fire.

Other risk factors that could influence an older adult’s outcome during a fire emergency include, but aren’t limited to:

Older adults can reduce their risk during a fire emergency by taking steps to prevent falls and creating a safe home environment.

Fire Prevention Tips for Older Adults

As part of NFPA’s fire and fall prevention program for older adults, it recommends the following priority safety messages for fire prevention:

  1. If you smoke, smoke outside.
  2. Give space heaters space.
  3. Stay in the kitchen when frying food.
  4. If your clothes catch fire: stop, drop and roll.
  5. Smoke alarms save lives.
  6. Plan and practice your escape from fire and smoke.
  7. Know your local emergency number.
  8. Plan your escape around your abilities.

Additionally, whether you’re an older adult yourself or have aging loved ones, it’s important to learn lifesaving skills. Find a CPR, AED and First Aid class near you!

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