Report: Fire Sprinklers Needed to Prevent Death of Senior Citizens


In Maryland, Montgomery County officials have released a report aimed at preventing fire casualties among senior citizens, citing an “epidemic” of fire-related deaths among older residents, according to a newspaper story.

The report, prepared by the county’s Senior Citizen Fire Safety Task Force, recommends 30 short-term and long-term plans for reducing fire risks for senior citizens.

Immediate recommendations include creating a fire-safety training position and ensuring that senior residents with hearing or vision problems acquire proper smoke-alerting devices, according to the Washington Times.

Long-term recommendations include requiring all apartment complexes to install sprinklers and increasing the county fire department’s budget to meet the needs of a growing population of senior citizens.

County officials say 14 of the county’s 15 fatal fires over the past four years were residents older than 65.

Paul Thomas, chairman of the task force, told the newspaper that as residents get older, they need to rely more on fire-safety devices that compensate for their diminished vision and hearing. In addition, seniors and those who help them need to be taught fire-safety practices, he added.

County Council member Phil Andrews, who is chairman of a county public safety committee, also emphasized the importance of sprinklers. All new apartment buildings in the county are required to have sprinklers, he tells the newspaper, but many older ones do not have them.

Andrews says apartment owners and homeowners can receive a tax credit for retrofitting with sprinklers. Combined with smoke detectors, they reduce by 82 percent the risk of a fire resulting in a death, according to the county report.

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