CARTERET — On Veterans Day, Mayor Dan Reiman and members of FMBA Local #67 welcomed Carteret seniors to the borough’s Community Center for a fire safety workshop and dinner. The event offered senior residents the opportunity to learn more about fire safety and prevention, to heighten awareness for those who are most prone to household accidents and emergencies involving fire, and to provide specific fire prevention tips for the holiday season.
Career firefighter and FMBA President Mark Hruska said, “the effect of various physical and cognitive impairments, particularly those resulting from prescription medications, can have a significant impact on the risk of fires that result in injuries and fatalities to older citizens. Our seniors, and adolescents as well, are statistically the most at-risk during the holidays.”
Carteret firefighter specialists stressed that the general likelihood of sensory impairments increase as people age:
- Fifteen percent of men and 11 percent of women had some form of moderate to severe memory impairment. Because these conditions affect reasoning, short and long-term memory, and executive functions, these individuals are at substantial risk of injury or death from fire.
- A range of impairments can hamper the ability of older adults to respond to fires and to escape burning structures. Nationally, only 49 percent of households with an older person with impaired mobility have made modifications to increase the home’s safety or accessibility. The lack of such modification creates additional barriers for the disabled senior to exit the home safely in a fire.
Carteret career firefighters and EMTs also provided practical information to better enable seniors to safeguard themselves against household fires for the holidays, including fire alarm installation tips, safe use of heating, lighting, and appliances, and information on the fire-related risks of alcohol and tobacco use.
“Our seniors are among the most vulnerable residents to household emergencies involving fire,” Reiman added, “more so during the holiday season. Any fire safety expert will tell you that the best weapons against fire related emergencies are awareness and prevention. With the holiday season around the corner, these were some valuable lessons offered.”
The workshop was followed by a pasta dinner, sponsored by the FMBA local #67. The program itself was made possible by the organization’s career firefighters.
“Participating representatives from FMBA Local 67 are to be commended for expanding the range of fire prevention programs and services available to residents, and the tools and knowledge they share with local seniors,” Reiman added.
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