Older Adults More Likely Victims of Fires Than Others

January 27, 2006

Adults age 65 and older are 2.5 times more likely to die in fires than the overall population, and as Americans age, their fire risk increases, according to a new report by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).

According to report, 34 percent of the people who died in residential structure fires and 14 percent of the people who were injured were age 65 and older.

“Fires occurring in the home and in various health care settings for older adults are often preventable,” said Charlie Dickinson, Deputy United States Fire Administrator. “Because the older adult population accounts for a substantial portion of the nation’s fire deaths and injuries, it’s important that we take steps to reduce this fire problem.”

The report, Fire and the Older Adult, was developed by the National Fire Data Center, part of the U.S. Fire Administration, and is based on research from a variety of public and private organizations and data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), U.S. Census Bureau, the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging.

The report analyzes the fire risk to persons age 65 and older as a complement to the USFA’s Fire Safety Campaign for People 50-Plus. The report reviews the fire situation for older adults in the United States and evaluates fire risk factors and risks of fire injury and fatality among that population group.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded from: www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/fa-300.pdf

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