Statistics show 62 per cent of all deaths from preventable fires in 2012 involved individuals aged 60 years and over.
Statistics show 62 per cent of all deaths from preventable fires in 2012 involved individuals aged 60 years and over.

Seniors face house fire threat

TWEED residents over 60 are more likely to die in a house fire than any other age group according to a report released by the NSW Fire and Rescue.

The report states that in NSW 62 per cent of all deaths from preventable fires in 2012 involved people aged 60 years and over, despite this age group only making up 14 per cent of the total NSW population.

There were 13 preventable fire deaths throughout NSW in 2012, and eight of these were people over 60 years old.

Tweed Fire Station Officer Leo Ayoub backed up the report saying he was not surprised by the statistics.

"The figures are important as Tweed has a relatively large number of elderly residents living in lower socio-economic backgrounds and so in older accommodation," he said.

He said that it was a good idea for residents in cluster housing to keep an eye on their neighbours, especially the elderly.

"A higher number of people over 60 live in caravans or relocatable homes and they are often unable to maintain these homes properly to prevent fire," he said.

Officer Ayoub said the dangers of damaged electrical devices, naked flames and unattended cooking were largely to blame.

He also said elderly residents were sometimes unable to reach safety should an incident occur due to reduced mobility.

The report concluded that faulty or poorly maintained smoke alarms were part of the problem and they should always be in proper working condition.

Officer Ayoub said the NSW Fire Brigade's Smoke Alarm and Battery Replacement (SABRE) program was in place to assist those having trouble replacing or maintaining faulty alarms.

To sign up for the SABRE program residents should call their local Fire Brigade.

Specialised smoke alarms are also available for the hearing impaired through the NSW Deaf Society.


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