Volume 2 Number 1
January 3, 2005





Each year, fire claims the lives of Florida’s elderly more than any other age group.  At the same time, statistics show increasing fire incidents on college campuses.

To combat these sobering trends, State Fire Marshal Tom Gallagher has launched new education programs targeting the state's seniors and college students.

 “Fire prevention is one of the keys to independent living for Florida’s seniors, and for college students fire can pose a big risk as they take their first steps toward independent living” said Gallagher said. “The more information they have, the more our citizens can do to minimize their risk of being injured by fire.”

A new educational package is available to fire departments throughout the state, and includes training materials and a DVD loaded with tips and tools to help local firefighters and fire safety educators provide the elderly with information that can save lives.   The program was developed by DFS (including the Division of State Fire Marshal), the Department of Elder Affairs and the Florida Injury Prevention Program for Seniors (FLIPS).

The following statistics indicate the need for fire safety education among older adults:

  • Thirty-seven percent of residential fires begin in the kitchen because of a pot left cooking on the stove.
  • Electrical fires are most likely to occur in the bedroom where outlets and extension cords may be overloaded by space heaters, electric blankets and heating pads.
  • Elders age 75 and older are more likely to die from carbon monoxide poisoning than any other age group.

Also, this fall, fire prevention specialists with the State Fire Marshal’s Office visited university campuses to draw attention to the special risks college students face when living away from home for the first time.   The specialists were armed with a new video about fire safety and campus life, and another new program geared toward college students, “Candle with Care.”

Gallagher and the State Fire Marshal’s Office continue to place special emphasis on education for young children as well.  The Department’s “Safe House Mouse” program offers tips for kids and suggestions for parents and teachers to share practical advice on how to prevent and escape fire.  And, the Bureau of Fire Prevention has created a fire safety bookmark specifically targeting third-graders.

For more information about these programs, visit the State Fire Marshal’s Office's website at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/sfm.