Older citizens more likely to die in fires


September 14, 2023

OLYMPIA – People over the age of 65 face the greatest risk of dying in a fire, according to a recent report published by the U.S. Fire Administration. As people age, they may become unable to react quickly in emergency situations, or may take medication that slows their ability to make rapid decisions. Last year in Washington State, 63 percent of the people that died in fires were age 50 or older. The State Fire Marshal’s Office encourages the following safety tips:

· Have working smoke alarms in the home, and test them monthly.

· For the hearing impaired, consider installing smoke alarms with a shaker or strobe light.

· When cooking, never leave the room and move things that can burn away from the stove.

· Have fireplaces and wood stoves inspected annually.

· Make sure you have two ways out of your home and create a home escape plan.

· If using a space heater, make sure that it is at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn.

· Smoking is the number one cause of fires that kill older adults. Never smoke in bed or around any oxygen tanks being used.

· Avoid any open flames in your home such as candles. Consider battery operated candles instead.

· Have at least one fire extinguisher near every fire hazard, including in the kitchen, and near fireplaces, wood stoves or furnaces. Make sure that they are operational.

· If you use a walker or a wheelchair, check all exits to be sure that you can exit safely through them.

For more information contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at (360) 596-3929.


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