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Seniors dying at higher rates from home fires in 2021

Older Americans are more likely to live alone and neglect upkeep of smoke detectors. They’re also hard of hearing and sometimes miss alarms in the case of a fire.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala — A home fire is a scary situation for anyone-- but, especially seniors. Things can quickly take a deadly turn.

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This year, adults over the age of 55 have accounted for 53% of all reported home fire deaths in the country.

That could be for a number of reasons, and spending more time at home during the pandemic could be a factor. 

Older Americans are more likely to live alone and neglect upkeep of smoke detectors. They’re also hard of hearing and sometimes miss alarms in the case of a fire.

We are seeing similar trends in Huntsville. 

We met with Huntsville Fire Marshal Dan Wilkerson. He says, “We do see more fatalities in elderly people than the rest of the population. So, it’s very important that you not only have a smoke detector, but that someone is testing it monthly to make sure it still works. If it has a nine volt battery, change the battery every six months. If the detector is over 10-15 years old it needs to be replaced.”

Be sure to always know your escape routes and take extra care when cooking indoors. Marshal Wilkerson says cooking fires are still their most common causes of house fires. 

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