The Statistics We Need to Change
Each year, approximately 1,100 Americans 65 and older die in home fires and another 3,000 are injured. These statistics, combined with the fact that adults ages 50 or more care for and will soon enter this high-risk group, inspired the United States Fire Administration (USFA) to develop a new public education campaign targeting people ages 50-plus, their families and caregivers.
The People 50–Plus Campaign Strategy
A Fire Safety Campaign for People 50-Plus encourages people ages 50 and older - including the high risk 65-plus group - to practice fire-safe behaviors to reduce fire deaths and injuries. The strategy is to inform and motivate adults as they enter their fifties so that stronger fire safety and prevention practices are integrated into their lives prior to entering the higher fire-risk decades. In addition, many Baby Boomers are currently caring for family members ages 65-plus and can encourage fire safe habits. With a few simple steps, older people can dramatically reduce their risk of death and injury from fire. USFA and Dallas Fire-Rescue encourages you to:
Prevent Fire. Save Lives.
For your well-being and others you love:
Practice fire-safe behaviors when smoking, cooking and heating. Maintain smoke alarms, develop and practice a fire escape plan, and if possible, install home fire sprinklers.
Sitting in your favorite chair and having a cigarette after dinner seems to some like a great way to relax - but cigarettes and relaxing can be a deadly mix. Falling asleep while smoking can ignite clothing, rugs and other materials used in upholstered furniture. Using alcohol and medications that make you sleepy compound this hazard. Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths and the second leading cause of injuries among people ages 65 and older. Cigarettes when not properly extinguished continue to burn. When a resting cigarette is accidentally knocked over, it can smolder for hours before a flare-up occurs. Before you light your next cigarette, remember:
Many families gather in the kitchen to spend time together, but it can be one of the most hazardous rooms in the house if you don't practice safe cooking behaviors. Cooking is the third leading cause of fire deaths and the leading cause of injury among people ages 65 and older. It's a recipe for serious injury or even death to wear loose clothing (especially hanging sleeves), walk away from a cooking pot on the stove, or leave flammable materials, such as potholders or paper towels, around the stove. Whether you are cooking the family holiday dinner or a snack for the grandchildren:
Heat Your Home Safely
During winter months, December, January and February, there are more home fires than any other time of year. Heating devices like space heaters and wood stoves make homes comfortable, but should be used with extra caution. Heating is the second leading cause of fire death and the third leading cause of injury to people ages 65 and older.
Many of these deaths and injuries could be prevented with safe heating practices. So before you grab a good book and cozy up to the fireplace, make sure you do the following:
The "Get Out Alive" Home Fire Safety Steps
Source: U.S. Fire Administration, A Fire Safety Campaign for People 50-Plus
For more information, visit www.usfa.fema.gov.