The September/October NFPA Journal is out and in its WildfireWatch Column, I reflect on a wildfire fatality of an elderly couple in California last June. The tragic story of the couple succumbing to the smoke and dying, embraced in each other’s arms at the corner of their property, brought the complexities of evacuation into focus for me.
In our day-to-day lives, we all often give evacuation little thought other than get-out, but the difficulty and confusion of evacuating during a wildfire can be compounded for the elderly and for those with disabilities.
The true scope of the elderly, youth, and those with disabilities in the United States is explained in the column, along with the work of NFPA’s Disability Access Review and Advisory Committee to raise awareness of their needs during an emergency.
In writing this column, I was reminded that there is a good chance all of us will either be elderly or manage a disability at some point in our lives. While we should plan for ourselves, we must also help our more vulnerable populations with education and planning to ensure the elimination of death in wildfire.
I hope you enjoy the column.
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