FEMA issues new report on impact of aging population on fire and EMS services

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on May 29, 2013
FEMA report
"The fire safety community must address the fire safety needs of older adults or be faced with the potential of a severe public health problem"
A new report by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)- Impact of an Aging Population on Fire and Emergency Medical Services - contains information about the expansion of the older adult population and its impact on fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

The report explains that “this expanding older adult
population may require ever-increasing amounts of public services, health care, and additional services."

Of particular importance to fire and emergency medical services (EMS) is finding a way meet this increased demand for services from this group "that is at a much higher fire risk than the rest of the population.”

The report makes recommendations on activities to reduce risk including; educational outreach, the need to attract and retain a qualified fire force, the integration of new smoke alarm technologies in model codes for homes, and the installation of fire sprinklers as “the most effective fire safety feature that can be added to a home.”

Of particular importance to home fire sprinkler advocates is the following statement: “A significant safety gap exists between the model codes and current federal regulations and programs. This margin of risk can be minimized if the federal agencies involved in fire safety, federal home financial assistance, and construction were to collaborate and implement guidelines that would require current model building codes to apply in all circumstances subject to their collective authority. For example, requiring fire sprinklers in all new manufactured homes and making the installation of residential sprinklers a prerequisite for federal financial assistance for new homes would contribute significantly to the reduction of fire risk to all citizens, including seniors.”

This report represents an additional tool to make the case for fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family dwellings as required in all national model codes.