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Senior citizens have diminished capabilities and need to receive training on how to evacuate properly and how to prevent fires. There are still some senior citizens out there who do not know what a smoke alarm is or how it operates. About 800 senior citizens die in fires every year in the U.S.
A few weeks ago, I was a speaker at a Senior Safety Fair in East Las Vegas sponsored by the SALT (Seniors And Law Enforcement Together) Council. I reminded the crowd about the leading causes of fire with seniors, cooking, candles, careless smoking, smoking and medical oxygen. I cautioned them that they should not do any firefighting, even if they have a fire extinguisher. In fact, many seniors do not know how to use one and they should use the time to escape because many seniors have mobility issues.
There are many programs and organizations that can help your department to develop or reinforce “The Three E’s.” The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have fire prevention program information that can help your organization.
The fire service benefits from fire prevention also. By not having fires, we decrease the chances of personnel being injured or killed. There will always be a need for the fire service because of malfunctions, breakdowns, accidents and natural disasters, but if we work at it, we can decrease the number of incidents that are preventable like cooking fires, careless smoking, combustibles too close to a heat source or children playing with matches. n