"Older Americans are burdened with the gravest fire risk in the United States and are consistently more threatened with injury or death by fire than any other segment of society. While admirable strides have been made in lowering the overall U.S. fire death rate in the last decade, fewer gains have been realized among the oldest age groups. Fire caused 4,007 deaths in 2001 according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data. Older adults were disproportionately the victims-fire fatalities among persons aged 65 years or older in 2001 was 1,250, accounting for more than 30% of all fire casualties that year. Currently, older adults comprise 12% of the U.S. population, and their ranks are growing. It is estimated that the older population will rise sharply between 2010 and 2030, the years when the baby−boom generation will be in retirement. Better health care and new developments in medicine continue to increase American life expectancy. By their 65th birthday, on average, Americans can expect to live another 17 years. At this rate, older adults would comprise 20% of the U.S. population by 2050 (Figure 1). The oldest of these mature adults-those persons 85 years and older-are members of the fastest growing population group. At close to one−third of total fire deaths, the number of older Americans who die in fires across the nation is clearly high. The issue becomes even more concerning when the relative risk of fire death encountered by older Americans is compared to the rest of the adult population."
U.S. Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/
Topical Fire Report Series (December 2004), v.4 no.9