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Firefighter Foundation and Regional Burn Center Collaborate to Reduce Burn-Related Injuries in the Elderly
  1. J Woods,
  2. K Hollowed*,
  3. A Pavlovich,
  4. J Shupp
  1. Correspondence The Burn Center, Washington Hospital Center, 110 Irving Street, NW Room 3B-55, Washington DC 20010, USA

Abstract

In the USA seniors (age 65 and older) account for over 250 000 burn injuries annually. More than 1200 seniors die as a result of fire each year. These fires are usually a result of smoking materials that ignite clothing or upholstery. Cooking accidents account for the largest number of non-fatal burn injuries in this population. The District of Columbias (DC) Office of Aging reports that approximately 100 000 DC residents are over age 65. Given these statistics an initiative was started between the DC Firefighter Burn Foundation (DCFFBF) and The Burn Center at Washington Hospital Center. In 2009 The Seniors Guide to Fire and Burn Injury Prevention was created. This guide contains approximately 20 pages of information on residential fire prevention, which includes topics on cooking, electrical, heating and smoking safety. The guide also contains information on what to do in the event of a fire or burn injury along with a home safety checklist. The guide was designed for a low literacy level and contains easy to read information and illustrations, beneficial to those with language barriers as well as those with diminished eyesight, often experienced by many older adults. The goal of this program is to reduce the number of burn injuries and fire related deaths in the regions senior population. As part of the Burn Centers Outreach and Education programs this publication will be distributed at all outreach activities that involve seniors and annual data are being collected on senior fire-related injuries as a metric of impact.

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