(BPT) - U.S. Fire Administration data shows since January, more than 285 older adults (age 55 and older) have died in house fires, accounting for more than 53% of known fire deaths in the U.S. By age 65, people are 2.5 times more likely (or 4 times more likely for those age 85 and older) to be killed or injured by fires compared to the population at large. To address this crisis, Kidde, as part of Carrier’s Healthy Homes Program, is launching a nationwide public safety campaign to help keep older loved ones safe from harm as many remain isolated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seniors are particularly vulnerable to home fires. According to the Pew Research Center, older Americans are more likely to live alone in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world. There’s also been major growth in the older population. In fact, the National Institute on Aging reveals there are currently 39.5 million people in the United States over the age of 65, including 5.6 million people over 85.
When living alone, older adults can often neglect or are unable to install and maintain smoke alarms. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 40% of people aged 65 and older have at least one disability, which could impede their ability to adequately maintain their home safety and security systems. When working alarms are installed, age-related hearing loss can make it difficult to respond quickly to the sound of a standard smoke alarm. Home occupants also have far less time to evacuate — only 2 or 3 minutes — due to the increased prevalence of synthetic-based furnishing materials.
“While keeping our older relatives safe has always been important, it’s never been more so as many of us remain separated due to COVID-19,” said Sharon Cooksey, Marketing and Communications Manager for Kidde. “This part of the population is particularly vulnerable to home fires, so it’s critical for family members to understand how to keep their older loved ones safe when they can’t be there in person.”
Kidde shares the following advice for seniors and their caretakers:
For more fire and carbon monoxide safety tips for your entire family, visit kidde.com/seniorsafety.