Here's an alarming statistic pulled from NFPA's "Characteristics of Home Fire Victims" report: only 13 percent of the U.S. population is 65 or older, but 30 percent of fatal home fire victims were at least 65 years of age.
And here's another one: from 1980-2011, the percentage of home fire victims over 65 years increased from 19 percent to 31 percent.
The fact that older adults are at greater risk from fire was underscored in a recent article by the New Haven Register. Per the report, fire death rates for Connecticut residents 50 years or older were about four times higher than residents between the ages of 10 to 49. "You don't want to think, 'OK, I'll climb out of the window' if you're a person confined to a bed or have a walker or if you have difficulty walking normally," New Haven Fire Chief John Alston told the publication.
According to the story, Connecticut's older adults have been very receptive to presentations and public education efforts on fire safety. (Use these tips and resources from NFPA to aid your own efforts.) While discussing fire safety, make sure home fire sprinklers are a component of your outreach. Jim O'Brien, chief of the West Haven Fire Department, promoted this technology in the story, noting there is a "major movement by the U.S. fire service to require sprinklers in all new homes." The Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition and others have helped spread this movement across North America.
Want to give a presentation on home fire sprinklers to members of your community? Download this new presentation produced by NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative.