A news story from the Taunton Daily Gazette underscores a startling statistic: of the 19 home fire deaths that occurred through April in Massachusetts, more than half were senior citizens.
The story serves as a reminder that adults over 50 face a higher risk of home fire death when compared with the overall population, per NFPA data. "It's a tough thing. It's tough for the neighbors, the friends and family, and it's not easy for firefighters, either," Concord, Massachusetts, Fire Chief Mark Cotreau told the newspaper. "I think in general what people will get from these tragedies is a reminder of the basics of how to stay safe in your house."
While the state statistic on home fire deaths affecting the elderly might seem high, the Massachusetts fire marshal's office notes that this number is unfortunately typical by this time of year, since more home fires occur during winter months. Some seniors also have mobility issues that prevent them from escaping a burning building in a timely fashion.
Home fire sprinklers can make these tragedies involving high-risk groups a thing of the past, since these systems have been proven to drastically increase a resident's chance of survival. Discover the latest data on sprinklers by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative website.