Older adults at greater risk of being killed or injured due to fire

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Research has shown older adults (65 years and up) are at a greater risk of being injured or killed due to smoke and/or fire and Leduc Fire Services wants to help.

“At Leduc Fire, we believe ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’” says Deputy Fire Chief Gerry Kelly. “The fire safe steps you take now could make a world of different to help shield loved ones from injury or saving a life.”

According to a study completed in December 2017 by the University of the Fraser Valley and Murdock University, fire-related deaths are much higher for older adults, 1.6 times for 65 – 79-year-old  and 2.4 times for those 80 years and over. The causes for many of these fires include:

  • 46 per cent of residential fire fatalities involving people 65 and over were due to careless and inappropriate discarding of smoking materials
  • 38 per cent of fire deaths involving older adults involve the improper use of space heaters
  • Ignition of clothing, bed linens and upholstered furniture also contribute a significant number of house fire deaths among older adults

To be more fire safe, Kelly and the crew at Leduc Fire offers a few helpful tips that can be applied to all households in Leduc:

  • Ask smokers to go outdoors and use a safe container to use when they butt out.
  • Refrain from smoking if you or a loved one uses medical oxygen. Keep oxygen cylinders at least five feet from any heat source, open flame or electrical devices.
  • When using space heaters, leave plenty of room in and around the unit – recommending at least three feet. Turn them off and unplug them from the wall when you leave your home or when going to bed.
  • Be kitchen wise when cooking, by using oven mitts, wear tight-fitting or short sleeve shirts, refrain from cooking if you feel drowsy, and never leave cooking unattended.
  • Have working smoke alarms and test them monthly.
  • Have a fire escape plan and practice the plan with everyone in your home.
  • Post and memorize local emergency numbers, such as 911.

“The importance of being fire safe includes all members of a community and in some cases, a greater emphasis is required for many older adults and seniors to ensure they know what to do and what not to do when faced with a fire emergency,” says Kelly.

For more information, call 780-980-7177.

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Mariann McLaughlin, Corporate Communications