The facts speak for themselves: the relative risk of Americans over the age of 65 dying in a fire is 2.6 times greater than that of the general population. The risk worsens as age increases. People age 85 and older die in fires at a rate 4.4 times higher than the rest of the population.
The leading cause of fire deaths in older adults is smoking and the leading cause of fire injuries in older adults is cooking.
There are a number of precautionary steps older Americans can take to dramatically reduce their chances of becoming a fire casualty, including:
- Don’t leave smoking materials unattended and never smoke in bed.
- Never leave cooking unattended. Use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heat sources, like portable space heaters, wood burning stoves, and fireplaces.
- Place a smoke alarm on every level of your home, including the basement, and both inside and outside bedrooms.
- Know at least two exits from every room. Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily.