SFPE Survey Shows People Recognize Risk of Fire to Older Adults

Forty-two percent of those surveyed named older adults as the most at risk of fire danger.

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As part of National Engineers Week, February 16-22, SFPE is publishing a list of ways that fire protection engineers enhance the safety of public and private buildings and what people should look for in their loved ones living facilities at www.sfpe.org.

Bethesda, MD (PRWEB) February 20, 2014

Older adults are more vulnerable to a number of risks including fire, either at home or in assisted living facilities such as nursing homes. In a recent survey conducted by the Society for Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), people correctly identified adults age 65 and older as the most at-risk group.

Forty-two percent of those surveyed named older adults as the most at risk of fire danger. At the same time, more people (63 percent) believe natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods are more likely to cause harm to their families when compared to fire.

“I’m not surprised that Americans recognize the increased risk of fire to older adults. People with limited physical and cognitive abilities, especially older adults, are at a higher risk of death from fire than other groups,” said SFPE President, Carl Baldassarra. “At the same time, it’s dismaying that most people don’t recognize that fire is a greater risk to people than natural disasters.”

While fire is a noteworthy risk for people of all ages, older adults are more likely to die in a fire as compared to the rest of the population.

Moreover, nursing homes have long been recognized as a fire safety challenge. For example, on January 23, 2014, a devastating fire in a Quebec nursing home left 32 people dead or missing.

There are numerous ways that fire protection engineers play an essential role in designing safe facilities that house the aging population. For example, fire protection engineers analyze how buildings are used, how fires start, how fires grow, and how fire and smoke affects people, buildings, and property. Additionally, they use the latest technologies to:

  •     Design systems that control fires, alert people to danger and provide means for escape;
  •     Evaluate buildings to pinpoint the risks of fires and the protective measures to either prevent them or assure protection for people exposed to them;
  •     Conduct fire safety research on consumer products and construction materials;
  •     Investigate fires to discover how fire spreads, why protective measures failed, and how those measures could have been designed more effectively.

As part of National Engineers Week, February 16-22, 2014, SFPE is publishing a list of ways that fire protection engineers enhance the safety of public and private buildings and what people should look for in their loved ones living facilities at http://www.sfpe.org.

The Society seeks to increase the public’s awareness of how science and technology is used to protect people from fire. View this tip sheet for ways to protect the elderly from fire.

“Whether they live in a small house or a large assisted living facility, it’s critically important to take the time to evaluate your loved ones’ fire risks and ensure the best technology is available to protect them from fire, “ said SFPE Engineering Program Manager, Chris Jelenewicz. “Their life may depend on it.”

The survey commissioned by the Society for Fire Protection Engineers and conducted in February 2014 by Ipsos, polled more than one thousand American adults.

What is a Fire Protection Engineer?
According to the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, a fire protection engineer applies science and engineering principles to protect people, homes, workplaces, the economy and the environment from the devastating effects of fires. Fire protection engineers analyze how buildings are used, how fires start and grow, and how fires affect people and property. They use the latest technologies to design systems to control fires, alert people to danger, and provide means for escape. Fire protection engineers also work closely with other professionals, including engineers of other disciplines, architects, state and local building officials, and local fire departments to build fire safe communities. Fire protection engineers are in high demand. The number of available jobs far exceeds the supply.

About the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (http://www.sfpe.org)
Organized in 1950, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) is a global organization that represents engineers engaged in fire protection. Through its membership of over 5,000 professionals and 65 international chapters, SFPE advances the science and practice of fire protection engineering while maintaining a high ethical standard. SFPE and its members serve to make the world a safer place by reducing the burden of unwanted fire through the application of science and technology.

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