New Federal Campaign Hopes to Reduce Elderly Fire Deaths

August 11, 2004 -- Posted at 3:46 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO -- Over eleven hundred adults over the age of sixty-five die in house fires each year, but a new federal campaign is hoping to reduce that.

Jonesboro Fire Department Marshal Leonard Jadrich said, "Americans statistically have three times greater chance of suffering casualties in a fire."

But a new campaign by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is targeting Americans 65 and

R. David Paulison, a U.S. Fire Administrator for FEMA said, 'Over a 10 year period over 1/3 residential fire deaths were seniors, this is a tragedy that can be avoided."

Smoking, heating units, and food left unattended while cooking are the three leading causes of house fires involving people ages 65 and older.  But here's another danger you might not be think of.  Older appliances like coffee pots and toasters need to be unplugged when they are not being used.

"Check for frayed wiring because if they have been plugged in and out a lot, they could have frayed wires," said Jadrich.

Also, keep clutter to a minimum. Chairs and boxes in front of doors could hinder ability to exit a room in the event of a fire.  And don't try and hide extension cords.

"They want them out of sight so they don't trip, so they lay carpet over them. Well what that builds up heat, and that becomes a fire problem them," said Paulison.

And finally, the most important piece of equipment to have in your home.

"They have got to have a working smoke detector, it's got to give them enough time to get out of the house," said Jadrich.

It could make the difference between life and death.

For more helpful tips on keeping you and your home safe from fire, visit plus.