Physical disabilities can delay or thwart a person's chances of safely escaping a burning building. New data on just how many fatal fire incidences have impacted this population provides yet another reason why home fire sprinklers are necessary systems in new homes.
NFPA's recently released report, "Physical Disability as a Factor in Home Fire Deaths," estimates that physical disabilities were a contributing factor in about 15 percent of U.S. home fire deaths each year from 2007-2011. When physical disability was a factor, 60 percent of victims were at least 65 years old. Equally astounding is that 85 percent of victims were killed in one- and two-family homes.
Additionally, more than half of victims died in homes with working smoke alarms. "Additional steps must be taken to provide maximum safety for people with physical or sensory disabilities," states the NFPA report. Many of the victims might have been saved had home fire sprinklers been present."