According to a new report from the U.S. Fire Administration. Spokesman Tom Olshanski says they researched fire deaths across Iowa between the years 1989 and ’98. There were 339 residential fire deaths statewide during that decade and 112 of the deaths were people 65-years-old or older, or about one-third. He says that works out to mean Iowans 65 and older are two-and-a-half times more likely to die in fires than the rest of the population. Olshanski says four-thousand Americans of all ages will die in housefires this year and one of the top problems for seniors is mobility. He says 80-percent of the people who will die in fires this year will die because they either don’t have a smoke detector or the batteries in the detectors they have are old and should have been replaced. Olshanski says the smoke detector issue becomes even more significant in the older population. Older people tend to forget how recently the batteries may have been replaced, and it should be at least annually, plus, he says it’s often hard for seniors to climb up on a chair or ladder to reach the smoke detector. Olshanski urges all able-bodied Iowans to check up on their older neighbors, family members and friends, and offer to change their smoke detector batteries for them, adding, the simple gesture could save a life.
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